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Atmar: ‘We Fear ISIS Militants Fleeing to Afghanistan’s Borders’ | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Afghan’s National Security Advisor Mohammad Hanif Atmar. AP

Kabul- Afghan’s National Security Advisor Mohammad Hanif Atmar confirmed that his country has opened a new page for security, economic and political cooperation with Riyadh, emphasizing that Saudi Arabia’s security is that of Afghanistan.

In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, Atmar said that the Islamic world has been facing four different terrorist entities.

“The total number of militants in these four entities is estimated to be between 40-45 thousand militants, including foreigners,” he said.

There is no Islamic country in the region or worldwide without such enemies. These terrorists seek strongholds from which they could benefit in any country.

Therefore, these groups, whether Afghan, Pakistani of from Central Asia, need an Afghan group to settle in the country, establish a stronghold and provide communication means with Taliban.

Atmar stressed the importance of the Islamic coalition to fight terrorism under the leadership of Saudi Arabia as Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques seeks to unite Islamic countries.

Atmar explained that President of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani has boosted political relations with King Salman to push forward bilateral cooperation to the highest levels.

He said that Afghan-Saudi relations are not against any country but against terrorism and terrorists.

Atmar accused Pakistan of providing shelters for leaders and parties fighting against the Afghan people, noting that terrorists have bases in lands controlled by Pakistan where they head from to Afghanistan and carry out terrorist acts.

He added: “It is enough to say that Mullah Mansoor was killed by the U.S. on the borders as he was attempting to enter Pakistan.”

Atmar said that his country considers Pakistan a friend and based on this friendship “we have committed ourselves to not supporting any opposition or enemy in Afghanistan’s lands, and we look for a common stance from Pakistan.”

The National Security Advisor also addressed ISIS’ threat. He said that pressuring the terrorist organization’s militants will let them flee their strongholds in Syria and Iraq to the Afghan-Pakistani border.

In this case, ISIS will not only affect Pakistan but it will also affect China, Central Asia and Iran and will extend to neighboring Arab countries.

He said that there are many pro-ISIS militants east Afghanistan carrying out terrorist attacks.

For this reason, he added, we always ask for cooperation against terrorism since terrorist acts carried out by these militants threaten the whole world, not only Afghanistan.

Atmar explained that the number of Taliban militants joining ISIS is still very limited.

Moreover, he warned Pakistan and Iran from going beyond the peace process in their relationship with Taliban, saying that any such step will exclude the country from Afghanistan’s friendship zone.