Nationals of France are reportedly among the foreign militants joining Daesh ranks in northern Afghanistan, where the notorious terror group has established a foothold after losing its territorial rule in Syria and Iraq.
Several international and Afghan sources warned on Sunday that “a number” of French and Algerian nationals had entered the largely Daesh-controlled district of Darzab in Afghanistan’s northern province of Jowzjan in November.
According to district governor Baaz Mohammad Dawar, at least two women were among the arrivals. He also said three Algerians seen in Darzab are believed to have been in Syria and Iraq.
European and Afghan security sources in Kabul confirmed the governor’s remarks about the presence of French nationals among the militants. One of the sources, however, said, “we do not know how many there are.”
According to locals, the militants were of several nationalities, including French, and were tall, aged in their late 20s, and dressed in military clothing.
“They ride their [motor] bikes, go to the border and come back, but they talk to nobody,” AFP quoted one of the residents as saying.
Residents and the district governor warned the militants were also exploiting natural resources, such as precious stones and metals.
“They are … bringing misery to normal people,” stated a former district village chief identified in the AFP report as Hashar, with other villagers saying many locals had fled the area.
European services in Afghanistan said the militants are arriving through Tajikistan. According to one of the security sources, at least one Frenchman arrested there in July said he had wanted to join Daesh in Afghanistan.
Last month, the Iraqi and Syrian national armies managed to rid the Takfiri Daesh outfit of all the territory it had captured in the two neighboring countries in a sweeping advance back in 2014.
Russia, which greatly contributed to Syria’s anti-Daesh battles, said earlier this week that the terrorists, who have survived the army operations in Iraq and Syria, are now fleeing, with Afghanistan becoming the “most probable” new foothold for the group.
Concerns are mounting in the European country over the security threats which could be posed by its nationals upon returning home from conflict zones.