Intelligence services of Russia, Iran, China & Pakistan decide to cooperate in Afghanistan - without the USA
Sergei Ivanov

Sergei Ivanov, the chief of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service’s press bureau, has said that heads of intelligence services of Russia, Iran, China, and Pakistan held a meeting in Islamabad on Tuesday to discuss the measures against the threat of Daesh in Afghanistan.
[See FRN's earlier report and commentary here]

The heads of the foreign intelligence services of Russia, Iran, China and Pakistan met in Islamabad for talks about a peace solution and the rising threat of the Islamic State in Afghanistan. The US is taking that as a threat.

Sergei Ivanov, head of the press office of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, told TASS news agency on Tuesday that the high-ranking officials of the participating countries had stressed the need for "coordinated" measures against the Islamic State's increased focus of the Islamic State on Afghanistan. This statement could be an indication that the participating states will participate more actively in the future in efforts to bring security to Afghanistan - without the United States.

The US is skeptical about these efforts. "Russia does not help at all, Iran does not help at all," said Kay Bailey Hutchison, US NATO ambassador on Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, a US-backed news portal.

Comment: US was skeptical of any improvement when Russia decided to help Syrian government in 2015. Now, most of Syria is free of ISIS.

The four-way talks in Islamabad "focus on the dangers that arise from the military build-up of the IS on Afghan territory," informed the Russian intelligence spokesman on the agenda of the meeting.

The Conference acknowledged the importance of coordinated steps to prevent IS terrorists from continuing to infiltrate out of Syria and Iraq into Afghanistan, where they pose risks to neighboring countries," he added.

Ivanov also noted that intelligence chiefs, including Russian Foreign Intelligence Director Sergei Naryshkin, emphasized the need for more active regional cooperation to resolve the conflict in Afghanistan.

Pompeo also visited Afghanistan

The meeting of the intelligence chiefs from Russia, Iran, the People's Republic of China, and Pakistan took place just days after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had paid a surprise visit to Afghanistan. There he had announced a recent ceasefire as proof of the feasibility of peace between the central government and the Taliban.

"We have been greatly encouraged after the ceasefire by what we saw, how the Afghan people responded," he said." We think that bodes well for the peace process."

The US and its allies launched an invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 as the starting point for the "war on terror" based on UN Security Council Resolution 1373. About 17 years later, the Taliban's extremist group, which was then ousted from power, only intensified its military campaign against NATO troops and the US-backed government across the country.

The Islamic State is also increasingly exploiting the stability vacuum in Afghanistan in order to reorganize itself after its widespread expulsion from Syria and Iraq. Focus areas of the IS are the east and north of Afghanistan. The most bloody attacks in Afghanistan in recent months have been at the hands of IS extremists.

Geopolitical competitors accuse USA of inaction against the IS

US-critical and Pakistani media continue allegations that US forces are blind to ISIS activities in Afghanistan. Russian diplomats have repeatedly expressed similar criticism of the US Army's policy in the war zone. In February, Iran's Grand Ayatollah Ali Chamenei accused Washington of intentionally infiltrating ISIS into Afghanistan to justify its own increasingly questioned military presence in the region.

In 2014, IS launched a terror campaign in Iraq and Syria, occupied territories in the two Arab countries, and established a self-proclaimed "caliphate" there.