An increase in the presence of foreign militants in the north and northeast part of Afghanistan is raising fears that the situation will worsen if not addressed.
According to political leaders from the north, the fighters are entering the country from neighboring countries and have stations in Badakhshan, Takhar, Kunduz, Jawzjan and Faryab.
“Extremist foreigners have been stationed in Badakhshan to Kunduz to parts of Takhar and parts of Darzab and Qoshtepa (districts) of Jawzjan, Almar and Qaisar of Faryab, Kohistanat district of Sar-e-Pul and parts of Badghis and are very active,” said Atta Mohammad Noor, CEO of the Jamiat-e-Islami party and the former governor of Balkh.
Former MPs from northern provinces said some of the fighters have also brought their families and all are armed.
“Some have joined these groups and are roaming in Raghistan (district) and are fighting,” said Fawzia Kofi, a former MP from Badakhshan.
“Our people who are living in the north are very concerned about insecurity in the north and this will affect the peace process,” said Feda Mohammad Ulfat, an MP.
Baghlan police last week arrested three foreign fighters who wanted to enter the province from Parwan, according to the provincial officials.
A video posted by Baghlan police shows the three men saying that they received military training in Afghanistan.
“We spent there three nights and then came here. Weapons were there and we were asked to do running (training),” said Noor Agha, an arrested suspect.
“Once we came during the elections. And this time, we were going to Dand-e-Ghori for Mullah Hassan and Ikramullah,” said Rohullah, an arrested suspect.
The Ministry of Interior Affairs said that Afghan forces are fighting 20 terrorist groups in the country.
“These groups have close ties with each other in order to increase violence in Afghanistan. The Taliban has created the big umbrella (of the groups),” said Tariq Aryan, a spokesman for Interior Affairs Ministry.
Cutting ties with terrorist groups is one of the main parts of the peace agreement the Taliban signed with the US in February. But a Pentagon report last week said the group continues to have relations with al-Qaeda.
On Sunday, the British Embassy in Kabul in a statement said it is “deeply concerned about the high levels of violence in Afghanistan” and that all parties should heed the UN Security Council’s resolution which calls for an immediate cessation of hostilities, in order to reduce violence and to ensure access of humanitarian aid throughout the country is not unduly hindered.