What threatens Caspian and Central Asian countries

What threatens Caspian and Central Asian countries

Political analyst Nikita Mendkovich, on the sidelines of the presentation of the international study "The concepts of 'extremism' and 'radicalism' in the perception of young people in the Caspian region," spoke about the threat of increasing number of terrorist cells in the Central Asian and Caspian regions.

"At the moment we are facing a new wave of terrorist threat. After the main ISIS forces (banned in Russia) and other terrorist organizations were liquidated in the Middle East, active militants migrate, as well as attempt to export the ideology and infrastructure of terrorist organizations to other regions. First and foremost - to Afghanistan and Central Asia. There is a tense armed confrontation in Afghanistan, the central government is very weak there, the international coalition's positions are weak there, therefore, there are opportunities for terrorists and extremists. In addition, Afghanistan is actively used as a springboard for exporting ideology, for exporting an influence to Central Asia. Here, terrorists resort to a variety of methods - from classical recruitment of young people in order to send them to hot spots for fighting, or creating dormant cells in the region, and not just to carry out terrorist attacks in the future, but with the aim of creating a long-term criminal infrastructure. It’s no secret that ISIS, al-Qaeda (banned in Russia), Hizb ut-Tahrir (banned in Russia) will try to create criminal-terrorist networks to gain revenues from drug trafficking from Afghanistan through Central Asia to Russia and Europe," Mendkovich said.

According to him, such criminal-terrorist cells have already been created in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. There are examples of the spread of extremist ideology through prisons, through the criminal community. "The situation in Kazakhstan is somewhat less transparent, less studied. It is known that the number of terrorists, former and current ones, who tried to enter the country in the last two years, has already exceeded 200 people. The special services have yet been able to cope with them, but extremists continue to demonstrate an interest in the Caspian region in terms of using its transit routes for smuggling. Young people are at risk, so we need to study the nature of the threats and work out ways to counter them."

Nikita Mendkovich urged to pay attention to the activity of extremist organizations that were considered dead until recently: "I mean not only ISIS, but also al Qaeda, whose bases are recently located in northern Afghanistan near the Tajik border, and Hizb ut-Tahrir, which is trying to restore its position in Kazakhstan, including using Ukraine as a bridgehead, where this organization is not banned, which allows it to be quite active and conduct campaign and recruitment work in social networks with residents of Kazakhstan from Ukraine. In addition, there are other extremist organizations - the Turkestan Islamic Movement (banned in Russia), the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (banned in Russia), which are trying to recruit Kazakh citizens of Uyghur origin, and a number of other terrorist groups. Despite certain successes in Syria, despite the reduction in the financial and human potential of terrorists, the threat is not destroyed. They are trying to lick their wounds, recover, repair their losses by recruiting young people. Their main goals are Central Asia and the Caspian states."

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