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Daesh Seeking Foothold in Central Asia, Afghanistan, Pakistan: Iranian Minister

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TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iran’s Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alawi raised the alarm about the Daesh (ISIL) terrorist group’s attempt to establish its self-proclaimed caliphate in Central Asia, Afghanistan and Pakistan after being flushed out of Iraq and Syria.

After suffering blows in Syria and Iraq and losing grounds and its ruling there, Daesh is now seeking to conquer territories in parts of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asia in order to revive its so-called caliphate, the Iranian minister said at a conference in Tehran on Tuesday.

Although terrorist groups have received many serious blows and gotten frustrated, it is necessary to remain vigilant to prevent their rebirth, Alawi stressed.

Lashing out at the US for sponsoring extremist groups operating in the name of religion, the minister underlined that terrorism arises from extremism, not from religion or faith.

On November 19, Daesh terrorists were flushed out of their last stronghold in Syria’s Al-Bukamal. The city’s liberation marked an end to the group’s self-proclaimed caliphate it had declared in 2014.

Daesh militants made swift advances in northern and western Iraq over the summer of 2014, after capturing large areas of Syria.

But the timely support by Iran helped Syria and Iraq fight off Daesh. In addition, formation of military units by volunteers in Iraq, known as Hashd al-Shaabi or Popular Mobilization Units, blunted the edge of Daesh offensive and later made the terror group withdraw from much of the territories it had occupied.

Back in August, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned against re-emergence of Daesh in other regions, particularly Central Asia.

“After suffering a complete defeat in Iraq and Syria, terrorists are likely to try to permeate across the region. Thus, all of us should be wary of such a threat (in the region), as in the Caucasus and Central Asia,” Rouhani said in a meeting with his Armenian counterpart.

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