The United Nations has expressed concerns over recent reports indicating that the Islamic State group has established a presence in Afghanistan. At a Security Council meeting on Monday, Nicholas Haysom, the U.N. envoy to Afghanistan, said that ISIS could unite splintered militant groups in the country under a common banner -- a concern that was also echoed by Russia.

“It is Unama’s (the U.N. mission in Afghanistan) assessment that the group's presence is of concern, but that ISIL's significance is not so much a function of its intrinsic capacities in the area but of its potential to offer an alternative flagpole to which otherwise isolated insurgent splinter groups can rally,” Haysom told the council. However, he added, ISIS had still not established “firm roots” in the country.

Russia's Deputy U.N. Ambassador Vladimir Safronkov urged the Security Council to take immediate action to prevent further expansion of the militant group, which, he added, could “rock the boat” as the newly elected administration attempts to govern the strife-torn country. He reportedly said that Moscow is worried about “increasingly frequent reports of the worsening situation in the north of Afghanistan, in areas bordering countries which were once Soviet republics and remain ‘our friends and allies.’”

Zahir Tanin, Afghanistan’s permanent representative to the U.N., acknowledged that ISIS had penetrated some areas in Afghanistan “but the main enemy we face is the Taliban.” He added that there may also be some splinter groups in the country with “more extreme orientations.”

The Unama would "continue to engage all parties and hold a ‘frank’ dialogue with the Taliban on humanitarian access and human rights,” the council said, in a statement.

In report released in February, the U.N. had said that 2014 was one of the bloodiest years since the war began over a decade ago. Nearly 3,700 civilians were killed last year -- the highest in a single year since 2009.

The comments by the U.N. and Russia come just weeks after senior Afghan and U.S. army officials acknowledged that they had come across “reports of some recruiting” by ISIS in the country. Earlier in January, local militants in Afghanistan and Pakistan had released a video, claiming that several groups from Pakistan and Afghanistan had pledged their allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi -- the self-proclaimed caliph of ISIS.