ANTALYA, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 16:  Russian President Vladimir Putin talks during the bilateral meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron on day two of the G20 Turkey Leaders Summit on November 16, 2015 in Antalya, Turkey. World leaders will use the summit to discuss issues including, climate change, the global economy, the refugee crisis and terrorism. The two day summit takes place in the wake of the massive terrorist attack in Paris which killed more than 120 people.  (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Chris McGrath/Getty Images Europe/Getty Images
ANTALYA, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 16: Russian President Vladimir Putin talks during the bilateral meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron on day two of the G20 Turkey Leaders Summit on November 16, 2015 in Antalya, Turkey. World leaders will use the summit to discuss issues including, climate change, the global economy, the refugee crisis and terrorism. The two day summit takes place in the wake of the massive terrorist attack in Paris which killed more than 120 people. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
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A man from Lancashire who encouraged Islamic extremists to wage jihad in the West, including targeting Prince George and injecting poison in to supermarket ice-cream, has been convicted today (31 May).
Husnain Rashid, 32, posted messages online glorifying successful terrorist atrocities committed by others while encouraging and inciting his readers to plan and commit attacks.
One of his posts included a photograph of Prince George, along with the address of his school, a black silhouette of a jihad fighter and the message ìeven the royal family will not be left aloneî.
His common theme was that attacks could be carried out by one individual acting alone. Rashid suggested perpetrators had the option of using poisons, vehicles, weapons, bombs, chemicals or knives. Rashid uploaded terrorist material to an online library he created with the goal of helping others plan an attack.
He also planned to travel to Turkey and Syria with the intention of fighting in Daesh-controlled territories. He contacted individuals he believed to be in Daesh territory, seeking advice on how to reach Syria and how to obtain the required authorisation necessary to join a fighting group.
Rashid provided one individual who had travelled to Syria and was known online as ìRepunzelî, with information about methods of shooting down aircraft and jamming missile systems.
All the offences relate to Rashidís activities online between October 2016 and his arrest in November 2017.
Rashidís trial started on 23 May at Woolwich Crown Court but he changed his plea to guilty on four counts on 31 May. He will be sentenced on 28 June.
Sue Hemming from the CPS said: ìHusnain Rashid is an extremist who not only sought to encourage others to commit attacks on targets in the West but was planning to travel aboard so he could fight himself.
ìHe tried to argue that he had not done anything illegal but with the overwhelming weight of evidence against him he changed his plea to guilty.
ìThe judge will now deci
PHOTO: Greater Manchester Police
A man from Lancashire who encouraged Islamic extremists to wage jihad in the West, including targeting Prince George and injecting poison in to supermarket ice-cream, has been convicted today (31 May). Husnain Rashid, 32, posted messages online glorifying successful terrorist atrocities committed by others while encouraging and inciting his readers to plan and commit attacks. One of his posts included a photograph of Prince George, along with the address of his school, a black silhouette of a jihad fighter and the message ìeven the royal family will not be left aloneî. His common theme was that attacks could be carried out by one individual acting alone. Rashid suggested perpetrators had the option of using poisons, vehicles, weapons, bombs, chemicals or knives. Rashid uploaded terrorist material to an online library he created with the goal of helping others plan an attack. He also planned to travel to Turkey and Syria with the intention of fighting in Daesh-controlled territories. He contacted individuals he believed to be in Daesh territory, seeking advice on how to reach Syria and how to obtain the required authorisation necessary to join a fighting group. Rashid provided one individual who had travelled to Syria and was known online as ìRepunzelî, with information about methods of shooting down aircraft and jamming missile systems. All the offences relate to Rashidís activities online between October 2016 and his arrest in November 2017. Rashidís trial started on 23 May at Woolwich Crown Court but he changed his plea to guilty on four counts on 31 May. He will be sentenced on 28 June. Sue Hemming from the CPS said: ìHusnain Rashid is an extremist who not only sought to encourage others to commit attacks on targets in the West but was planning to travel aboard so he could fight himself. ìHe tried to argue that he had not done anything illegal but with the overwhelming weight of evidence against him he changed his plea to guilty. ìThe judge will now deci
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FILE - In this undated file photo released by a militant website, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, militants of the Islamic State group hold up their weapons and wave flags on their vehicles in a convoy on a road leading to Iraq, while riding in Raqqa, Syria. Simultaneous attacks on the Islamic State-held city of Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa, the de facto IS capital across the border in eastern Syria, would make military sense: They would make it harder for the extremists to move reinforcements and deny them a safe haven. (Militant website via AP, File)
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FILE - In this undated file photo released by a militant website, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, militants of the Islamic State group hold up their weapons and wave flags on their vehicles in a convoy on a road leading to Iraq, while riding in Raqqa, Syria. Simultaneous attacks on the Islamic State-held city of Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa, the de facto IS capital across the border in eastern Syria, would make military sense: They would make it harder for the extremists to move reinforcements and deny them a safe haven. (Militant website via AP, File)
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(FILES) This image grab taken from a propaganda video released on July 5, 2014 by al-Furqan Media allegedly shows the leader of the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, aka Caliph Ibrahim, adressing Muslim worshippers at a mosque in the militant-held northern Iraqi city of Mosul. 
The Russian army on June 16, 2017 said it hit Islamic State leaders in an airstrike in Syria last month and was seeking to verify whether IS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had been killed. In a statement, the army said Sukhoi warplanes carried out a 10-minute night-time strike on May 28 at a location near Raqa, where IS leaders had gathered to plan a pullout by militants from the group's stronghold.
 / AFP PHOTO / AL-FURQAN MEDIA / --/AFP/Getty Images
(FILES) This image grab taken from a propaganda video released on July 5, 2014 by al-Furqan Media allegedly shows the leader of the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, aka Caliph Ibrahim, adressing Muslim worshippers at a mosque in the militant-held northern Iraqi city of Mosul. The Russian army on June 16, 2017 said it hit Islamic State leaders in an airstrike in Syria last month and was seeking to verify whether IS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had been killed. In a statement, the army said Sukhoi warplanes carried out a 10-minute night-time strike on May 28 at a location near Raqa, where IS leaders had gathered to plan a pullout by militants from the group's stronghold. / AFP PHOTO / AL-FURQAN MEDIA / --/AFP/Getty Images
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Story highlights

A U.S. commander has told Congress ISIS may have 3,000 fighters in Afghanistan

Vladimir Putin has long worried about jihadists from Russia's Caucasus region going to Syria

(CNN) —  

Russian President Vladimir Putin is turning to an old enemy – the Taliban – to share intelligence as the number of ISIS fighters grow in regional neighbor Afghanistan.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the contact between Moscow and the Afghan Taliban only involves intelligence-sharing and information exchange regarding the fight against ISIS.

Why would Putin put himself in a risky spot by working with the Taliban? He’s aligning himself with the enemy of his enemy.

A U.S. commander last month told Congress that ISIS has gained strength in Afghanistan in recent months, with as many as 3,000 fighters there.

Putin has long worried about thousands of jihadists from Russia’s Caucasus region and the former Soviet republics going to fight with ISIS in Syria.

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He may be trying to cut off the pipeline of fighters closer to home, in Afghanistan, one expert told CNN.

“The ties between ISIS and the insurgency in the north Caucasus, the fact that there are people from the north Caucasus fighting in Syria – maybe not as many as the Russian government says, but certainly a good number, including in leadership roles – means that Russia does see ISIS and a lot of the other Islamist groups as a particular threat, in a way that maybe the Taliban isn’t,” said Olga Oliker of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. “So the Russians may think they (the Taliban) are the lesser of the available evils.”

Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling, a CNN military analyst, said a map shows the situation, with Afghanistan bordered on the north by former Soviet republics Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan and Kazakhstan between those nations and Russia.

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“Russia and Mr. Putin are very concerned about the passage of terrorists, insurgents, Islamists between those borders,” Hertling said.

Working with the Taliban presents some risk for Putin, who has been boldly extending his reach with aggressive moves in Syria, Ukraine and with North Korea.

For their part, the Taliban issued a statement Friday denying any contact with the Russian government. The Taliban denied needing any help in the fight against ISIS but maintained they had the right to request assistance from other nations.

Analysts said Putin’s moves are all about projecting relevance and strength.

“He wants to go back to the 1970s, when the Soviet Union and the United States were equals as geopolitical leaders, as Cold War rivals, but they still sat down and they did deals,” said Matthew Rojansky of the Woodrow Wilson Center.

Former CIA counterterrorism official Philip Mudd concurs, calling Putin’s a “pretty serious power grab.” Putin is seeking to enhance his relationships with those former Soviet republics.

“What Putin is doing now is telling those states, ‘I will work with the Taliban to ensure that we have an agreement to collect intelligence about ISIS before they come across the border,’ ” Mudd said. ” ‘When I collect that intelligence, I will pass it back to you.’ This is as much about restoring those relationships and trust with the central Asian republics and competing with the United States as it is about countering ISIS in Afghanistan.”

The emergence of ISIS in Afghanistan is another major worry – not only to Russia but also to the United States. Much of the violence in the country wracked by war and an insurgency has involved the Taliban. But al Qaeda – which, led by the late Osama bin Laden, called Afghanistan home before the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks – continues to be a threat.

A U.S. State Department official told CNN when asked for comment on the Russian-Taliban agreement: “Russia and other regional actors all have a shared interest in supporting the continued security and increased stability of Afghanistan. We hope that we can continue to find ways to work with Russia to promote Afghanistan’s security and stability.”

Another U.S. official told CNN that Washington doesn’t see this action as undermining the stability it is working with the Afghan government to achieve. But what would be destabilizing, the official said, is any contact with the Taliban that would legitimize the group with international recognition.

Moscow addressed Russian media reports about Russia supplying weapons to fighters in Afghanistan.

The only weapons that would be transferred on a commercial basis would go directly to the Afghan government and would not involve the Taliban because of sanctions against the group, said Zakharova, the Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman. Russia “strictly follows the sanctions regime against the Taliban,” she said.

CNN’s Matthew Chance in Moscow, Masoud Popalzai in Kabul, Afghanistan, and Laura Koran contributed to this report.