More than 50,000 militants from 21 terrorist organisations are currently operating in Afghanistan, the country’s deputy Defence Minister, Hilaluddin Helal, said on Friday. Out of these 70 per cent are Pakistanis.
“Currently, 21 terrorist organisations are operating in the country. The total number of militants stands at 50,200,” Helal said at the eight Beijing Xiangshan Forum on defence, which opened on Thursday.
The minister added that Afghanistan had become “a central battlefield” for members of various terrorist organizations that are “fighting for influence in the region.”
“[The number of militants active in Afghanistan] includes 8,023 international terrorists,” Helal stressed, noting that Taliban is the biggest group operating in the country and is comprised of about 38,000 people.
The Islamic State terrorist group now has over 2,000 members in Afghanistan, he underlined.
“As much as 70 per cent of IS [members] are Pakistanis, 6 per cent are Uzbeks, 4 per cent are Chechens, 3 per cent are Arabs, 1 per cent are Chinese and 14 per cent are Afghans,” Helal pointed out.
Afghanistan has long been suffering from an unstable political, social and security situation due to simmering Taliban insurgency. The violence is exacerbated by the activities of various terrorist groups, including the IS.