In the northern provinces of Afghanistan—Sar-e Pul and Balkh—the positions of the militants of the so-called Islamic State terror group (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), IS or ISIS in English, and Daesh in Arabic) are visibly strengthened, according to Ferghana News.

Muhammad Zahir Wahdat, the governor of the Sar-e Pul province, told a Fergana News correspondent that Daesh is trying to expand its presence in all districts of the province.  The governor also asserted that there are districts in which the administration is the official power during the daytime, but nightfall brings the authority of Daesh.

According to the official, local ethnic Turkmen and Uzbeks are now actively replenishing the ranks of the group.  According to the governor, the province administration has repeatedly informed NATO in northern Afghanistan and the central government of the country, but the center does not provide sufficient assistance.

One of the residents of the Kush Tapa district, in a conversation with the Fergana News correspondent, explained that the Daesh group based there mainly consists of foreign mercenaries, many of whom speak Russian, Uzbek or Tajik and apparently, come from Russia and the Central Asia republics, although there are Arabs and Pakistanis among them.

A spokesman for the administration of the Sar-e Pul province, Zabiulla Amani, said the influence of the Daesh in almost all the districts of the province is due to the effectiveness of the intelligence of the terrorist organization and the brutality of punishment that the opponents of the group expect.

One of the representatives of the administration of the province of Balkh told Fergana News, on the condition of anonymity, that residents had recently witnessed the distribution of weapons among local youth in the districts of Hairatan and Shortepa, bordering Uzbekistan.

The weapons, according to witnesses, were new. This information was confirmed, also on the condition of anonymity, by one of the members of the Balkh city council. He asserted that local authorities in Balkh and the neighboring northern provinces are forced to pay Daesh or Taliban “compensation” from the local budget on a monthly basis so that these groups lead no active operations against the authorities.  At the same time, local officials turn a blind eye to the expanding Daesh in the districts bordering Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

The governor of the northern province of Faryab, and representatives of law enforcement agencies in the northern regions of Afghanistan, have repeatedly confirmed the growing activity and expansion of IS’ influence.  One of the generals of the Afghan National Army in Faryab said on the condition of anonymity: “The northern region of Afghanistan has already been under the authority of Daesh for one and a half to two years; local authorities are not able to fight them.  We saw this with our own eyes as to how foreign armies that are under NATO's roof in Afghanistan openly supply and support Daesh militants. They use helicopters without identification marks.”

Another source from the northern Afghanistan province of Kunduz, who was a security official working with Najibullah (the Afghan president from 1987-1992, who was killed by the Taliban in 1996) and served in the security department, stated on the condition of anonymity: “Our security forces have repeatedly monitored the movements of Daesh militants in some districts of Kunduz province. They had been divided into groups of five to ten people; there were women and young girls with them, who talk to each other in Uzbek or Russian.  We even took them around the area of Imam-Sahib and Kala-i Zal, and after fierce battles, NATO soldiers and Americans met us, stating, ‘leave them to us, come back and do your work.'  And we saw that NATO and ISIL met almost like friends and disappeared into the dark.  And there were many such cases during my service in the Kunduz province. The majority of Daesh terrorists in the provinces of Kunduz, Takhar and Badakhshan, are from the Central Asia republics, and it seems to me that most of them are Tajiks.  The militants of Daesh are easily moving into the areas bordering Tajikistan at present: in the districts of Yangi-Kala of Tohar province, Dar-Kat, Hoja Ghar and others.  Most of the Tajik mercenaries, according to our information, even received Afghan civilian documents, which are called "tazkira" (civilian ticket) in Afghanistan.  Some of them, with the support of the authorities and even people's members of parliament from the northern region, received passports, and it is possible that they, under the guise of Afghans, freely cross borders with Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and other neighboring countries."

The fact that Daesh already looks like a new project of the West in Afghanistan is no longer news for the Afghans themselves.  Residents are concerned about the support for Daesh by the U.S. government and its allies, as well as the brutal behavior of the Daesh in the Afghan provinces.  The majority of residents in the regions bordering the Central Asia republics are afraid that one day, Daesh terrorists will go to the neighboring countries, and civilians will again become the victims of new bombings.  The news of Daesh’s activation in Afghanistan has repeatedly been shared at international discussion forums, both in the republic itself and in the Central Asia states and Russia, but no visible or concrete measures have been adopted so far to resolve this problem.