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    In this photograph taken on December 3, 2016, Afghan security forces take positions following an operation against DAESH militants in Pachir Wa Agam district of Nangarhar province.

    Daesh Went Underground in Afghanistan, Has Fewer Than 10,000 Fighters - Official

    © AFP 2018 / NOORULLAH SHIRZADA / POOL
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    KABUL (Sputnik) - The militants of the Islamic State terrorist group (banned in Russia) have gone underground in Afghanistan, with the size of the organization's sleeper cells in the country currently amounting to less than 10,000, Mohammad Mohaqiq, the second deputy chief executive of Afghanistan, told Sputnik in an interview.

    "Takfiris [followers of a radical Islamist ideology] and Daesh terrorists do not have official presence in the provinces of Faryab, Jowzjan and Sar-e Pol, however, despite this, they are hiding in sleeper cells, there are also a number of camps, where the foreigners are undergoing training, but they do not openly declare their presence," Mohaqiq said.

    READ MORE: UK Chief of General Staff Dubs Russia 'Far Greater Threat' than Daesh

    He added that the terrorists operating in the country had suffered considerable casualties in fights with the Taliban radical movement.

    "At some point, the number of [Daesh terrorists] totalled up to 10,000, however, I believe that currently, the number is lower because they have suffered severe blows from Taliban and sustained considerable losses in Nangarhar," Mohaqiq indicated.

    According to the official, the Taliban movement currently might control about 30 percent of the country's territory.

    "There is no exact statistics regarding Taliban's control over territories in Afghanistan. The majority of people believe that [the Taliban] controls about 30 percent [of the territories], there are also unsafe areas, where the threat level is increased, and about 60 percent of the territories are government-controlled," Mohaqiq indicated.

    Afghanistan has been struggling to achieve stability for years as central authorities have been fighting the Taliban radical movement and a number of terrorist organizations, including the Daesh terrorist group that are attempting to gain a foothold in the country.

    US Withdrawal From Afghanistan

    According to Mohaqiq the US authorities and security servicemen do not understand the situation in the country.

    "I believe that the international and US forces in Afghanistan… do not have any incentives to fight, they are searching for the solutions and the ways to withdraw from, flee Afghanistan… [The United States] does not understand the situation in Afghanistan," Mohaqiq indicated.

    READ MORE: Taliban Will Only Talk to Kabul if Timeline Exists For US Troops' Exit — Moscow

    Mohaqiq pointed to the fact that the US forces in the country are focused on cities' protection, with US President Donald Trump having ordered recently to remove the US servicemen from suburbs and remote areas.

    "[Trump] does not realize that if [the US forces] leave the suburbs, [the Taliban radical movement] will approach [the cities and will not be sitting still," Mohaqiq said, adding that the Taliban had been "expanding thoughtfully."

    According to Mohaqiq, the Taliban has acquired modern weapons, which only several units of the Afghan military have at their disposal.

    "They enjoy covert support and assistance… The Taliban's superiority is explained by superiority in weapons and support, I do not know who assists them. The Afghan government supported by the international community lacks such superiority," Mohaqiq stressed.

    While most of the US servicemen had been reportedly withdrawn from the country by the end of 2014, NATO launched a new mission in 2015 to provide training and assistance to the Afghan security forces. Over 16,000 soldiers from 39 NATO countries are currently serving in the country as part of the mission.

    *Daesh (also known as ISIS/ISIL/IS) and Taliban are terrorist groups banned in Russia

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    War in Afghanistan, terrorism, Daesh, Taliban, Afghanistan
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