Counter-Terrorism: The Russian Presence Survives In Central Asia

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October 9, 2013: More al Qaeda men have been showing up in Tajikistan this year and, recently, ten were arrested with weapons and documents indicating plans to carry out terror attacks in the Tajik capital, as part of an effort to disrupt the upcoming elections in November. So far this year Tajik security forces have arrested 30 suspected Islamic terrorists. Most of the Islamic terrorist activity is taking place in a few areas.

In Central Asia it’s the thickly populated river valleys that tend to be where the Islamic radicals get established and become dangerous, and that has been going on in Tajikistan for the last five years. In the Rasht Valley near the Afghan border, troops have frequently found caches of weapons and medical supplies. These apparently belonged to Islamic radical groups preparing to hunker down for the Winter. These Islamic radical groups usually come from Afghanistan and Pakistan and are usually associated with al Qaeda and the Taliban. The main support for Islamic terrorism in Tajikistan are tribes that have lost out in the competition to control the central government and benefit from all the cash and control that provides. Russia has been particularly helpful in keeping the Tajik government on top of the terrorist threat and has long-term agreements to station troops and anti-drug police in Tajikistan, mainly to interfere with the drugs smugglers coming out of Afghanistan but also to keep the Islamic terrorists, who usually work with or for the smugglers, under control. Russians have been doing this for over two centuries now, no matter who is running the Russian government. 

 


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