The UN Security Council has urged Afghanistan’s government to tackle the “alarming threats” posed by the Taliban, al-Qaeda, ISIS affiliates and other extremist groups which threaten the security and stability of the country.
A resolution adopted unanimously Friday by the Security Council extending the UN political mission in the country until March 17, 2018 expresses serious concern at the presence and potential growth of ISIS affiliates, which pose “serious threats to the security of Afghanistan and the countries of the region.”
The Security Council reiterated its support for the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces “in securing their country and in their fight against terrorism and violent extremism.” It called on the Afghan government, with international assistance, to continue tackling threats from “terrorist groups.”
The resolution was adopted the same day a suicide car bomb detonated near an army base in the eastern Afghan province of Khost, killing one soldier and wounding several before the army repelled at attack on the base by four gunmen, the district chief said.
Four gunmen attacked the base but were killed after an hour-long gun battle, Akbar Zadran, the chief of Sabari district, told Reuters.
In a statement, the Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack and said it had caused heavy casualties. The movement often exaggerates casualties caused by its operations.
The attack follows an assault on a military air base in Khost province last week, and comes just ahead of the normal start of the spring fighting season, when Taliban insurgents and the Afghan army step up operations.
The Afghan government controls less than 60 percent of the country after territorial gains by the insurgents since NATO-led forces ended their combat operations at the end of 2014.
US and Afghan officials have warned about increased fighting this year as the Taliban look to widen their influence.
The Taliban are seeking to expel foreign troops and defeat the US-backed government.
The head of US Central Command, General Joseph Votel, this month asked for more American troops to join the roughly 8,400 already stationed in Afghanistan to break the stalemate.
ISIS has also claimed several attacks in Afghanistan.
Notorious for its brutal reign of terror in Syria and Iraq, the terrorist group has been making inroads into Afghanistan in recent years.
But the group has also been steadily losing territory and its strength has depleted to 600-700 fighters from 3,000 in early 2016, NATO says, adding that it killed the top 12 ISIS commanders in Afghanistan last year.