Foreign Policy Blogs

Terrorism in Central Asia

I was lucky enough to have a piece of mine, ‘Terrorism in Central Asia‘ be published on FPA's main page. The piece deals with the rise in terrorism from and in the Central Asian states, mainly from Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, and how it is impacting the stability near the Afghan/Pakistan border. Here is an excerpt:

The border between the states of Afghanistan and Pakistan is now arguably the most active front in the war on terror. Foreign terrorists and extremists have come to the volatile border from the Middle East and Central Asia and there is real fear that these perpetrators may bring the war back to their home countries. Even more worrisome is that several of the militant groups involved in the current Afghan/Pakistan/US/NATO conflict hold broader goals of attacking American and Western interests. Central Asia, defined here as Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Uighur-dominated Xinjiang Province in western China, with Afghanistan and Pakistan as integral neighbors, also has vibrant militant groups threatening the governments of Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and before the Olympics the Chinese government was targeted for several attacks by Uighur separatists with ties all the way to Pakistan. This briefing will analyze the rise in terrorist and extremist activities near the Afghan/Pakistan border, explore the major Islamic extremist groups active in Central Asia, discuss the reasons for their presence, and provide policy recommendations for the US, local actors, and regional groups.

Al Qaeda and the Taliban's Foreign Helpers

In the last year or so there have been continual reports of a greater presence of foreign individuals and groups participating in extremist activities undermining Afghanistan, Pakistan, and regional stability. Al Qaeda and the Taliban have done an excellent job recruiting foreign jihadist to their fight against the US/NATO, Afghan, and Pakistani forces. Several disturbing trends have been recorded, including a rising use of suicide bombings and the recruitment and use of children in combat. Since 2001, there have been over 260 suicide bombings in Afghanistan alone, not to mention the hundreds that have recently occurred in Pakistan and Iraq, and unfortunately this number has only been increasing. US officials have stated that Al Qaeda and Taliban militants in the Afghan/Pak border have systematically created an underground network into Central Asia, which has brought in approximately 200 children into the violent conflict. Tajikistan and Uzbekistan have been called "feeder channels’ for the terrorist groups. Pakistani journalist and scholar Ahmed Rashid told Radio Free Europe: "We’ve seen more and more of these people coming in. We have seen more suicide bombers in Afghanistan who supposed to be Uzbek from Uzbekistan. Clearly, there's something going on here."

Hope you enjoy the article (it's about terrorism, how can you not enjoy it!). Comments, Questions, Criticism?

 

Author

Patrick Frost

Patrick Frost recently graduated from New York University's Masters Program in Political Science - International Relations. His MA thesis analyzed the capabilities and objectives of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Central Asia and beyond and explored how these affected U.S. interests and policy.

Areas of Focus:
Eurasia, American Foreign Policy, Ideology, SCO

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