07:43 GMT29 November 2020
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    Moscow will continue supplying free weapons to the Afghan military to help fight the Islamic State (ISIL) jihadist group, Russia's upper house speaker Valentina Matvienko said on Tuesday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) In early October, Afghanistan’s First Vice President Abdul Rashid Dostum asked Russia for military aid amid a fight against militants operating in the country.

    "We will continue the work on the organization of gratuitous supply of arms and ammunition to Afghanistan. We welcome the commitment of the Afghan government to modernize the country's air force," Matvienko said at the meeting with Fazal Hadi Muslimyar, the speaker of the upper house of the Afghan Parliament.

    According to the Russian lawmaker, Afghanistan is currently considering a commercial Russian proposal for the purchase of three military helicopters.

    Also Matvienko stated that Russia is concerned over growing Islamic State (ISIL) influence in Afghanistan.

    "We are concerned by the increased ISIL influence in Afghanistan and its intentions to absorb parts of the Taliban," Matvienko said at a meeting with Afghanistan's upper house speaker Fazel Hadi Muslimyar.

    The danger of Taliban fighters joining ISIL increased after the Afghan army began operations against ISIL, Matvienko added.

    Central Asia has seen a rise in violent religious extremist groups since the demise of the Soviet Union.

    The threat posed by the return home of Central Asian ISIL extremists after taking part in training and combat in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan was pointed out by Kyrgyz Prosecutor General Indira Joldubayeva on November 11 in Sochi. Instability on the Tajikistan and Turkmenistan borders with Afghanistan also posed a threat of terrorist breakthroughs into Central Asia, Joldubayeva said.

    In recent months, the Afghan government has seen a resurgent Taliban and the spread of ISIL into multiple provinces. Up to 3,000 ISIL extremists are thought to be currently operating in Afghanistan, according to the Collective Security Treaty Organization.


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    weapons supplies, Abdul Rashid Dostum, Valentina Matvienko, Afghanistan, Russia
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