KABUL – Leader of the National Congress Party of Afghanistan Abdul Latif Pedram said the story around the hunt down of ISIS ringleader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi will be used to feed President Donald Trump’s election campaign, adding that the US is reinvigorating the terrorist group in northern Afghanistan.
“Killing al-Baghdadi will no doubt be used in Trump’s election campaign and these incidents are not accidental because the US uses its agents whenever it wants,” Pedram, a former presidential candidate, told FNA on Monday.
“This does not mean the end of the ISIS and the group will remain in different countries, including Afghanistan, as a radical group,” he added.
Pedram warned of the US attempts to destabilize China’s trade path by transferring the ISIS terrorists to northern Afghanistan and igniting a new war in the region. He also noted that the ISIS has been created by the Americans, themselves, and said, “The regional states, including Syria, Russia, Iran and Iraq, have played a major role in fighting the ISIS.”
Trump claimed on Sunday that Baghdadi died “whimpering and crying” in a raid by US special forces in northwest Syria. Baghdadi killed himself during the raid by detonating a suicide vest after fleeing into a dead-end tunnel, Trump said in a televised address from the White House. He was positively identified by DNA tests 15 minutes after he died, he said.
“He was a sick and depraved man and now he’s gone”, Trump stated.
The Russian military on Sunday questioned the official US account of the military raid that killed al-Baghdadi, saying it was not aware of any US military operations in the region.
In a statement, Russian Defense Ministry Spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov said the Russian military “does not have reliable information” on a US Special Operations raid in Syria’s Idlib province, adding, “The increasing number of direct participants and countries that allegedly took part in this ‘operation,’ each one giving completely contradictory details, raises legitimate questions and doubts about its existence and especially the level of its success.”
In a statement that followed the raid, Trump thanked Russia for its assistance, as well as Turkey, Syria, Iraq and the Syrian Kurds. Russia maintains a major base in Syria at Lattakia. Konashenkov said, however, that the Russian military had observed no strikes by US aircraft in the region.
“Firstly, on Saturday and in recent days no airstrikes were made on the Idlib de-escalation zone by US aircraft or the so-called ‘international coalition’ were recorded,” Konashenkov said. “Secondly, we are not aware of any alleged assistance to the passage of American aviation into the airspace of the Idlib de-escalation zone during this operation.”
Konashenkov argued in his statement that the Syrian government backed by Russian air power had defeated ISIS, saying that al-Baghdadi’s death “has absolutely no operational significance on the situation in Syria or on the actions of the remaining terrorists in Idlib”.