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It is Still a Long Way to Peace - 11 February, 2003

In Central Asia, there is still the threat of Islamic extremists’ attack

In the city of Batken, South Kirghizia a trial of one of the leaders of the terrorist organization Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IDU) has been completed. Spite the title, the question is about an interregional organization, whose aim is to create so-called Fergana Khalifat in former Soviet republics of Central Asia. The defendant Sheraly Akbotoev, who originates from Batken Region, was spokesman for the IDU leader, Jumya Namangani.

The investigation found out that spite last years’ defeats, IDU militants had not refused from their aggressive plans and actively prepare new attack groups to annihilate people who are considered to have betrayed Allah. While commenting on these facts, the high official of Kirghiz Defence Ministry, Malik Jumagulov confirmed the situation in Central Asia remained strained, with a real threat of destabilization in the region.

The situation on Tajik-Afghan border is the most complicated. Recently, an impossible activity of drug couriers was observed, who usually have dozens kilogrammes of heroin. While drug is, as well known, the thing which gives means to arm the militants who dream of controlling the whole Fergana Valley.

According to Malik Jumagulav, in border districts of Afghanistan, militants of Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan are gathering, who already twice have been to South Kirghizia. Only Takhir Yuldachev’s groups unite almost one thousand of religious fanatics. In addition to Uzbeks, there are Kirghizs, Chechens, Arabs. IDU has links with Yugur separatists who support creation of Fergana Khalifat.

According to some information, on CIS borders, Al-Qaida military groups are gathering, who were forced out from Central Afghanistan by the anti-terrorist coalition. Only in Gorny Badakhshan, over 20 groups like that were registered. Many of them already penetrate to Kirghizia and Uzbekistan, however open battles have not started yet.

Apropos, Sheraly Akbotoev, who was tried in Batken, confirmed intensive training of militants was being carried out in bases in Tajik mountains. He himself managed one of the “schools.” According to him, many graduates of the “schools” secretly penetrate to South Kirghizia. Though Kirghiz defence minister Esen Topoev, while appearing in the conference, asked journalists not to “pump tension.”

IDU militants really prepare an attack on border districts and some other actions. Nevertheless, the today’s situation differs from what it was in 1999 and 2000, when armed groups of Juma Namangani penetrated deeply to South Kirghizia. Now, in addition to Kirghiz Army, the borders are protected by a group of anti-terrorist coalition on the base Gansi. Members of Shanghai Cooperation Organization also assist Kirghizia. Recently, the list of the defendants was added by Russian base in the city of Kanta.

For April, a meeting of CIS leaders is fixed, belonging to Agreement on Collective Security. At the meeting, actions of fast reaction forces will be discussed in case the militants penetrate to Fergana Valley.

Though, the situation in the region is still strained, especially taking into account the planned US operation in Iraq. The Muslim world is negative about it.

Yury Razgulaev
PRAVDA.Ru

Translated by Vera Solovieva

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