Speaking at an extraordinary online summit of the Collective Treaty Organization (CSTO), Tajik President Emomali Rahmon said on January 10 that there are more than 6,000 militants in the north-east Afghanistan near the CSTO southern borders. 

“In general, according to the intelligence services of Tajikistan, the number of camps and training centers for terrorists bordering the southern borders of the CSTO in the north-eastern provinces of Afghanistan totals over 40, and their numerical strength reaches more than 6,000 militants,” Rahmon noted.  

According to Rahmon, the situation along Tajikistan’s common border with Afghanistan is getting more complicated every day, fighting between the Taliban themselves are going right along the border – more than 11 Taliban were killed and more than 18 were injured in just one section of the border over the past week.

"That is why we must create the security belt around Afghanistan," Emomali Rahmon said.  

He stressed that the increased activity of international terrorist groups in Afghanistan directly affects the CSTO collective security zone. “You and I know very well that since the second half of August 2021, thousands of members of ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Ansarullah, Hizb ut-Tahrir and other terrorist groups have been released from prisons in Afghanistan, which led to the intensification of their activities, strengthening their combat and subversive potential,” Tajik leader noted, according to TASS.  

He said that the events taking place in Kazakhstan confirm the need to strengthen the joint fight against terrorism.

He stressed that over the past 30 years in Tajikistan, the fight against the destructive activities of terrorists, extremists, Islamic radicals and various criminals has not stopped.  “And we know very well what a threat these forces pose to our security,” Rahmon said.

Rahmon further noted that he had repeatedly drawn attention to the presence of sleeper cells of international terrorism, extremism and religious radicalism in the CSTO member nations. 

Rahmon added that many groups banned in Tajikistan are showing “particularly aggressive activity,” and many of their followers make up the backbone of the ISIS terror group.   “We in Tajikistan are strenuously fighting the agitation and subversive work of emissaries of banned organizations,” he stressed.

It is to be noted that it is not the first time that Tajik leader proposes to create a belt of security around Afghanistan.

On September 17 last year, speaking at a joint summit of the SCO and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Dushanbe, Emomali Rahmon proposed to create "a security belt" around Afghanistan to prevent the potential expansion of terrorist groups.

"I urge all partners to create a reliable security belt around Afghanistan on the path of possible expansion of terrorist groups into the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization) and CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organization) regions," the Tajik president said. 

Meanwhile TOLOnews reports that Bilal Karimi, deputy spokesman of the Islamic Emirate, rejected Rahmon’s remarks on Tuesday, saying there are no such camps in Afghanistan’s territory.

“There is no such training center in any part of the country in which insurgents are being trained.  We assure all the world’s countries that there will be no threat from Afghanistan’s territory against them,” he said.

Afghan political analysts meanwhile said that fencing borders, and the possible creation of such a security belt around Afghanistan’s border, will create problems for the country and will limit trade and contacts between the countries.

“Fencing and securing Afghanistan’s borders will distance the two countries politically, economically and culturally and this will lead to many problems,” an international relations analyst Sayed Hakim Kamal, was quoted as saying by TOLOnews.

“After the Taliban took power in Afghanistan, the world countries have been worried about the presence of Daesh (an Arabic acronym for ISIS) and insurgents in Afghanistan,” Aziz Maarej, a former diplomat said, according to TOLOnews