• Xi, Putin lead security meet in Russia


    BEIJING: Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin and other leaders will discuss the threat the Islamic State group poses in Afghanistan at a Eurasian security summit in Russia this week, a Chinese official said on Monday.

    Xi travels to the Russian city of Ufa for a summit on Thursday and Friday of leaders of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which groups China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

    It will be preceded by a meeting of leaders of the BRICS group of emerging economies—Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

    “Due to the spillover effect of the Islamic State terrorist activities, Afghanistan now faces a grim security situation,” Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Cheng Guoping told reporters.

    SCO leaders “will certainly have in-depth discussions on the Afghan issue,” he added. “And they will talk further about how to respond to the security situation there.”

    China is seeking business interests in Afghanistan and is sensitive to any spillover of Islamic-inspired extremism from the country, which has a short border with its mostly Muslim western region of Xinjiang.

    Afghanistan’s militant Taliban are seeking to halt defections to IS after some insurgents adopted its flag to rebrand themselves as a more lethal force as North Atlantic Treaty Organization troops depart the country.

    Last month the Taliban warned the leader of IS group against waging a parallel insurgency in Afghanistan, after reported clashes between militants loyal to the two groups.

    Afghanistan has “observer” status in the SCO, along with India, Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan, according to the group’s website.



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