07/20/2022, 09.49
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Kyrgyz government warns of risk of Central Asian caliphate

by Vladimir Rozanskij

Various Islamist organisations are strengthening their positions in southern Afghanistan. The Taliban and Islamic State Khorasan are vying for the revival of the Islamic caliphate. The danger would also affect Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.



Moscow (AsiaNews) - The Interior Ministry of Kyrgyzstan has warned of the risk of a resurgence of the extremist and terrorist threat in Central Asia, which is allegedly regrouping to launch new attacks in several countries in the region. According to information in Biškek's possession, various armed and illegal organisations are strengthening their positions in southern Afghanistan and intend to conquer new outposts of their expansion.

The chief of the Kyrgyz Service for Combating Extremism and Illegal Immigration, Manas Amanbaev, says the Taliban and the Islamic State (formerly Isis) 'Khorasan' are reportedly in a phase of great activism in reviving the idea of an Islamic caliphate: 'In Kyrgyzstan, there are as many as 20 illegal international groups, and one radical Islamic sect, which are highly supported by the Taliban and contested by their opponents in Khorasan, and their activities may pose serious dangers to our state'.

Amanbaev points to recent events in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan as indicative, with independence uprisings that can also be interpreted as regurgitations of Islamic radicalism, which 'act against the secular principles of the Central Asian states, and their constitutional values'.

No precise figures or information are given on the members of these terrorist organisations, but it is claimed that they are increasing the number of their followers. Uzbekistan had also pointed out the recent attacks in the city of Termez, with explosive charges probably fired from Afghanistan, which even if they did not explode on contact with the ground, still alerted the national security services. Government representatives in Kabul tried to provide less than credible assurances that the perpetrators of these attempted attacks would be arrested.

Already in April, armed attacks had been reported in the Surkhardarinsk region of Uzbekistan, with 10 rockets sent from the Afghan side, but Tashkent never confirmed this information spread on social networks. The Golos Ameriki radio had also spoken of 10 rockets exploded from an Afghan base of the Khorasan Isis towards the city of Termez, and the sect has in fact intensified its activities since the return of the Taliban to Kabul, also to mark its autonomy in the region.

The former deputy chairman of the Kyrgyz Security Service, Artur Medetbekov, commented by pointing out that the Taliban are in fact increasingly exporting extremism and terrorism to the region: 'Today there are more possibilities of communication, thanks to new technologies, which can act anonymously in favour of plans to restore an Islamic state in Central Asia, similar to Afghanistan. If I am not mistaken, we are taking a big risk, and it will be essential to coordinate between all states in the region to combat this insidiousness'.

The Kyrgyz Interior Ministry is taking strong measures against terrorist extremism, and several members of organisations suspected of organising various attacks in recent times have been arrested. Two people of foreign nationality were arrested as they were preparing to act during the Muslim celebrations these days, and it was reported that they were terrorists from Syria, holding false passports. Several Kyrgyz citizens were also arrested on suspicion of terrorism, but no precise details were given.

There is no historical tradition of Islamic extremism in Kyrgyzstan, but the situation nevertheless appears to be rather unstable, and the Žogorku Keneš, the Biškek Parliament, is planning to pass new regulations 'against extremist activities and ideologies, international terrorist organisations, the protection of people's rights, freedom and constitutional principles'.

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Central Asian nations wary of new Taliban government
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