In this Saturday, Oct. 24, 2015, photo, Afghan National Security Adviser Mohammad Hanif Atmar speaks during an interview with The Associated Press, in Kabul, Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)
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Al-Qaeda has re-established a presence in Afghanistan and the extremist group ISIS has become a serious threat, the Afghan national security adviser warned, saying the country was in danger of again becoming a safe haven for terrorists and calling for U.S. and NATO military backing to help drive them out.The warning by Mohammad Hanif Atmar follows the announcement earlier this month by President Barack Obama that the U.S. would keep 9,800 troops in Afghanistan through most of next year, casting aside a pledge to withdraw most U.S. forces before leaving office. Leaders are now being appointed directly by the ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Atmar said, entrenching the rivalry with the Taliban -- which believes itself the rightful ruler of an Afghan Islamic state.Atmar said military operations were underway to dislodge ISIS from the four districts they have seized.Atmar called on Pakistani authorities to use their influence on the Taliban. Pakistan hosted a first round of peace talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government earlier this year, but the process was postponed indefinitely after the announcement of the death of Taliban founder Mullah Mohammad Omar.
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