Pakistan, Russia wary of rising IS threat

Islamabad: Pakistani and Russian counter-terrorism officials expressed grave concern over the rising threat posed by the Islamic State in the region, officials said on Thursday.

The Pakistan-Russia Joint Working Group (JWG) on Counter-Terrorism on Wednesday discussed a wide-ranging agenda covering the counter-terrorism situation at the regional and global level, action taken by both countries to tackle the menace of terrorism as well as bilateral cooperation on the issue.

The two sides reaffirmed the commitment for promoting bilateral cooperation for countering terrorism and agreed to cooperate at the United Nations and other international fora for combating terrorism, a foreign ministry statement said.

“There was broad agreement on the fact that terrorism was a common global threat which required cooperative efforts of the international community for effectively eradicating it,” the statement said.

“While major successes had been achieved in the fight against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, the returning IS fighters from the conflict zones to countries of origin or third countries constituted a major security threat to various parts of the world, including this region. It was important for countries of the region to cooperate to counter this threat,” the statement said.

The Pakistani side was led by Foreign Ministry Counter-Terrorism Director General Ahmad Farooq, while the Russian side was led by Director of the Department for New Challenges of the Russian Foreign Ministry Ilya Rogachev. Both delegations included officials from departments dealing with counter-terrorism.