The Republic of Kyrghyzstan has for three years fought international terrorism, Bolot Zhanuzakov, the chairman of Kyrghyzstan’s security council is quoted as saying at the international conference on regional security recently held in Bishkek, Kyrghyzstan’s capital city. The event was organized by the Kyrghyz OSCE center, the International Institute for Social and Political Studies, and the Association of Nongovernment and Nonprofit Organizations.
Representatives of Central Asian countries and Russia took part in discussing the strategy of fighting terrorism. The participants unanimously agreed that terrorism, including its recent displays in the USA, should not be viewed in isolation from the spreading of religious extremism, separatism, and drug-related crime. Planting, growing, and the global spread of opium and heroin has become the main source of financing of terrorist groups. In Afghanistan, for example, there are over 150 factories engaged in production of drugs. 30 of them are located in underground bunkers, which makes them invulnerable even to US bombardments. According to the secret services estimations cited by Mr. Zhanuzakov, about 4,000 tons of heroin are produced annually in Afghanistan. The profit made by drug traders is estimated at $45bn – $50bn, which is comparable with Russia’s state budget. A large proportion of the drugs is coming to Russia through Kyrghyzstan. This flow has considerably increased of late. It may be due to the fact that the Taliban now has to spend much on hostilities, trying to cover the increased expenses by the increased drug sales, specialists say.
The conference participants also mentioned that contemporary international terrorists are not only using automatic rifles. More and more attention is being paid to the ideological “brainwashing” of the population of the neighbouring countries. In this connection, the activities of the extremist religious party Hizbut Takhrir have been stepped up (the organization is most active in the Fergana valley and the Osh Province of Kyrghyzstan). For the last several weeks, over 70 people have been detained there – they distributed leaflets and agitated against the legitimate authorities.
So, the fight against terrorism is now waged not only in Afghanistan, and peace in the region will depend on the concerted efforts by all the Central Asian countries, their friends and allies, the conference participants said.
YURI RAZGULYAYEV PRAVDA.Ru Bishkek
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