Moscow is concerned about the activity of extremist organisations that operate under the cover of humanitarian, spiritual and other centres in Asian countries.
When speaking today at an international conference on security and defence issues in Munich, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov said that the Al Rashid Trust, for example, which was founded in 1996 to provide Afghan refugees in Pakistan with assistance later became active in Chechnya and Kosovo.
Ivanov said that the organisation's main aim was to promote the idea of a jihad (holy war) and an instant armed reaction to any perceived oppression of Muslims.
According to him, "Saudi Wahhabite structures are also continuing to use actively the territories of a series of states in the Middle and Near East to train militants from European, Asian and African countries." Ivanov pointed to ties between Pakistani Islamic schools belonging to the Jammaat-e-Islami, Damiet-ul-ulema-i-Islam and Jamiat-ul-ulema-i-Pakistan parties with various centres and militant training camps.
Moreover, the minister pointed out that the publications of extremist organisations such as the Voice of Islam, Al Ribat, Zarb-i-Taiba, Zarb-i-Momin, Dharb-i-Momin and Jihad Time were still available and distributed freely. Ivanov said that the publications conducted ideological training for and the recruitment of young Muslim volunteers for terrorist activity.
According to Sergei Ivanov, the development of the situation in the northwestern provinces bordering on Afghanistan, where the Taliban retain strong positions, is particularly alarming. The minister stressed that the military and political situation in Central Asia is one of the decisive factors in terms of global security.
However, according to him, "it is pointless combating terrorism, using military force alone, when the fight does not affect its ideological grounds directly." Sergei Ivanov said that the fight against terrorism would be far more effective, if the ideas of its inspirational forces could be made to look less attractive. He went on to say that the ties between terrorist organisations in various countries also had to be broken and their channels for equipment, money and men cut off.
Ivanov stressed that Russia was a supporter of the formation of a regional, multi-polar, co-operative security system based on equal interaction between all the states in the area.
The Russian defence minister said that the establishment of such a system would facilitate the enhancement of the current regional mechanisms of multilateral interaction and security safeguards, above all, the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation.
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