For nearly 30 years, the predominantly Muslim republics of the former Soviet Union provided recruits for jihadist organisations. A third of ISIS’s soldiers came from here. They shared a common language, Russian, had been involved in bloody conflicts like Chechnya, and were considered the most experienced and fiercest of fighters.
Now, following the serious setbacks suffered by the Islamic state in Syria and Iraq, and unable to return home, many of these fighters have withdrawn to Afghanistan. They find themselves in an unstable zone, subject to strong geopolitical pressure and at the gates of Europe. And they are intent on playing on the political-ethnic conflicts and inextricable border disputes that are tearing the region apart. Fed by the arbitrariness and corruption in this region, whose leaders are supported by the West and Russia, they have invested everything in the promises of a new Caliphate.