March 25, 2015 / 3:33 PM / 3 years ago

Ghani: Islamic State 'terrible threat' to western, central Asia

Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani speaks at a joint news conference with U.S. President Barack Obama in the East Room of the White House in Washington March 24, 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Afghan President Ashraf Ghani told U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday that Islamic State and its allies pose a “terrible threat” to the countries of western and central Asia.

In a speech to a joint meeting of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, Ghani said Islamic State militants are already sending advance guards to southern and western Afghanistan “to test for vulnerabilities.”

He also said Pakistan’s counter-insurgency operations are pushing the Taliban from south Waziristan toward Afghanistan’s border regions.

Making clear that his government would not support militants, Ghani denounced states, which he did not identify, that he said were “tolerating, financing, providing sanctuary and using violent, non-state actors as instruments of short-sighted policies.”

Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Doina Chiacu and Susan Heavey

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