The Taliban and al-Qaida long have been the reason for instability in Afghanistan and Pakistan, but neighboring nations in Central Asia now are facing increasing activities by radical Muslims, from Xinjiang province in China to the North Caucasus, according to a report fromJoseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
The uptick in Islamic militant terrorist and insurgency attacks throughout the regions of the North Caucasus and Central Asia has prompted an emergency meeting in Tajikistan where clashes between police and Islamic militants are on the rise.
The meeting to be held in Tajikistan’s capital of Dushanbe is to include Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Tajikistan President Emomali Rakhmon, who is hosting the emergency terrorism summit.
In recent weeks, there has been increased unrest on Tajikistan’s southern border with Pakistan, particularly in the remote area of Rasht, close to the Afghan border.
From Tajikistan, militants likely will renew attacks in the Central Asian country of Uzbekistan. There have been numerous past militant attacks in Uzbekistan’s breadbasket and industrial center of the Fergana Valley and in the mountains that are only two hours from the Uzbek capital of Tashkent.
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In the past, members of the group Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, or IMU, have staged in Tajikistan to launch attacks into Uzbekistan. It appears the IMU is regaining strength and is ready to resume its attacks. Tajik officials report that a senior IMU militant recently was killed.
The IMU actually is a coalition of Islamic militants from the Central Asian countries opposed to Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov. Regarded as a terrorist organization even by Russia, the IMU fought in the Tajikistan civil war from 1992 to 1997. After the war, the IMU moved into Afghanistan and joined forces with the Taliban.
The IMU’s last spectacular strike occurred in February 1999 when militants exploded five car and truck bombs almost simultaneously in Tashkent in an effort to kill Karimov, an old Soviet communist who was elected its first president after the fall of the Soviet Union. He has been Uzbekistan’s president ever since, running the secular Muslim country with an iron fist against militants.