Chief of Army Staff General Mohammad Sharif Yaftali on Monday rejected a recent figure issued by Zamir Kabulov, Russia's special envoy to Afghanistan, about Daesh fighters in the country as fake and baseless.
“We confirm the presence of up to 2,000 Daesh fighters in Afghanistan. Mr. Kabulov is sick and it is his habit to utter big things,” Yaftali told lawmakers in the Wolesi Jirga, Lower House of Parliament.
He added: “Only in November, we conducted over 1,273 airstrikes in various regions of the country against the Taliban leadership, their logistic resources, gatherings and training camps.”
Afghan Minister of Interior Affairs Wais Ahmad Barmak, who was also summoned by the Wolesi Jirga, said those operating under Daesh label in Afghanistan are not the fighters coming from Iraq and Syria, but it is a group which has been created by the intelligence agencies of regional countries.
“Daesh is not a trend which comes from Iraq or Syria. Findings show that Daesh is one of the forces which has been created by the intelligence services of the regional countries,” Barmak told MPs.
Meanwhile, MPs criticized security agencies over insecurity and lack of advancement of Afghan forces on the battleground.
“You (MPs) send a delegation there. I am ready to pay fine if they had advanced even for one meter from eight kilometers over the past nine months,” said MP Esmatullah Shinwari.
“How a huge number of Daesh militants including foreign fighters managed to infiltrate to the northern Afghanistan and from which way they entered the country?” asked Sharifi Balkhabi, an MP.
“You show me one district or village in 34 provinces of Afghanistan where security is restored following the return of (Hizb-e-Islami leader Gulbuddin) Hekmatyar,” said Abdulhai Akhundzada, an MP.
Kabulov this week said there are more than 10,000 Daesh fighters in Afghanistan.
“Russia was among the first to be sounding the alarms in connection with the emergence of Daesh in Afghanistan.... Daesh has significantly increased its power in the country recently. According to our estimates, the number of militants exceeds 10,000 and continues to grow, particularly due to new fighters arriving from Syria and Iraq," Kabulov said.
Kabulov also alleged that helicopters “without identifying insignia” are transferring fighters and delivering “Western [military] equipment” to the Afghan branch of the terrorist group.