ROME (Sputnik) – Afghanistan has officially joined the international coalition against the Daesh extremist group, bringing the total number of participant-countries to 66, US Secretary of State John Kerry said Tuesday.
"Yesterday, Afghanistan, which we all know has its own challenges in which we are, most of us, involved in helping, has also decided to join the coalition, recognizing that it too faces challenges and wants to make its contributions to this effort," Kerry said at the Ministerial Meeting of the Small Group of the Global Coalition to Counter Daesh in Rome.
According to the secretary of state, Daesh has lost 40 percent of the territories it occupied in Iraq and 20 percent in Syria since the last meeting of the Small Group in June 2015.
Kerry claimed that the international coalition led by the United States has conducted almost 10,000 airstrikes and killed more than 90 mid- or high-level Daesh leaders since May 2015.
The US secretary of state said that Washington would continue to increase its participation in the military operations against Daesh.
The meeting within the framework of the so-called Small Group, comprising 23 countries and the European Union, is taking place at the Italian Foreign Ministry. It is being chaired by Kerry and Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni.
Previous meetings of the Small Group were held in January and in June of 2015 in London and Paris, respectively.