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IS terror threat squeezing Afghanistan: Ghani

WASHINGTON: Afghan President Ashraf Ghani warned Wednesday that Islamist extremists will soon “come knocking on our door,” and stressed to US lawmakers that the region must unite in a battle against them.

“If one story of our future history is bright, there is another, darker cloud that is making its way towards our country,” Ghani told a joint meeting of Congress during his first trip to Washington as leader of Afghanistan.

He said the Islamic State group has already begun sending “advance guards” to southern and western Afghanistan “to test for vulnerabilities.”

“To the south, Pakistan’s counter-insurgency operations, in which more than 40,000 people have already died, are pushing the Taliban from south Waziristan towards Afghanistan’s border regions.”

While he stressed the importance of democratic nations rising up as one to repel IS, which has seized wide swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria, he indirectly accused some nations of abiding jihadism in the region.

“The changed ecology of terror could not have formed without some states tolerating, financing, providing sanctuary, and using violent, non-state actors as instruments of short sighted policies,” he said.

Ghani held his debut White House meeting Tuesday with President Barack Obama, and while the two hailed a revitalized partnership following years of strain between Washington and Ghani’s predecessor Hamid Karzai, the current leader warned that a reforming Afghanistan may not be able to keep the wave of jihadism at bay.

“Extremism is becoming a system, one that, like a dangerous virus, is constantly mutating, becoming more lethal, very media savvy, well financed, and thriving on state weakness and an overall lack of regional coordination,” he said.

“To date, Afghanistan’s people have rejected the allure of violent Islam. But sooner or later extremism will come knocking at our door. The world’s democratic communities must unite to fight against this dangerous form of violence.”

Ghani defiantly insisted that Afghanistan will be the “graveyard” of Al-Qaeda and other extremist groups who enter the country. -AFP

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