Over 50,000 militants operating in Afghanistan, says country’s Deputy Defense Minister

Afghanistan’s Deputy Defense Minister Hilaluddin Helal said that more than 50,000 militants from 21 terrorist organizations are currently operating in the country. He added that out of these 70 percent are Pakistanis.

He said this at the eighth Beijing Xiangshan Forum on defense.

He added, “Currently, 21 terrorist organizations are operating in the country. The total number of militants stands at 50,200.”

While adding that Islamic State terrorist group now has over 2,000 members in Afghanistan he said, “As much as 70 percent of IS members are Pakistanis, 6 percent are Uzbeks, 4 percent are Chechens, 3 percent are Arabs, 1 percent are Chinese and 14 percent are Afghans.”

The Deputy Minister further added that Afghanistan had become “a central battlefield” for members of various terrorist organizations that are “fighting for influence in the region.”

He added that the Taliban is the biggest group operating in the nation and is comprised of about 38,000 people.

“The number of militants active in Afghanistan includes 8,023 international terrorists,” he added.