Uzbekistan tightens security because of terror risk

With reports of terrorists massing on the border and evidence of mounting threats, the National Security Service is acting to protect Uzbek citizens, analysts say.

By Shakar Saadi and Hasan Khan

2013-05-08

TASHKENT – Uzbekistan is boosting its security measures and warning residents of an increased risk of a terrorist attack, officials say.

Authorities have "credible information" that has prompted the precautionary efforts, especially in Tashkent, National Security Service (SNB) terrorism analyst Abror S. told Central Asia Online.

"In addition to the escalation of terrorist activity across the region and the world as a whole by groups that made a name with their previous [terrorist] acts in our country – the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan [IMU] and Salafist groups – we now have information that terrorists are grouping on the border of Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan," he said though he declined to discuss specifics about the available intelligence data for security reasons. "This poses a danger to Uzbekistan."

Militants on the border

IMU and al-Qaeda militants have reportedly been massing in Badakhshan Province, Afghanistan, which is closer to Tajikistan than to Uzbekistan but worrisome for the Uzbeks nonetheless.

"Yes, we have the reports about activities of al-Qaeda militants [in northern Afghanistan], … this is on both sides of the border – that is in Afghanistan and Tajikistan," Haji Din Muhammad, a senior member of the Afghan High Peace Council and former governor of Kabul Province, told Central Asia Online by phone from Kabul.

The Afghan government wasted no time and quickly started working with Tajikistan to eliminate the problem, Din Muhammad, a senior politician, said.

"We are tackling the issue in collaboration with our neighbour and have control of [the militants'] activities," Din Muhammad said. "They have been sandwiched, and soon the region will be made clear."

Uzbekistan considers the massing of militants a threat, too.

"We received news of terrorists massing on that border, and we worry about our territories close to the border," Abror S. said in explaining Uzbekistan's increased security efforts. "Apart from that, we have reason to believe that a terrorist act may be carried out in the capital."

Terrorism's global reach

One challenge is that extremists have broadened their communication networks, using the internet to spread their propaganda, political scientist Linura Yuldasheva told Central Asia Online.

"The internet is accessible and insufficiently regulated, has an unlimited potential readership, and allows a rapid flow of information," she said. "Groups that achieve their goals through terrorism have benefited from these inherent advantages of the internet, and this is very hard to combat."

That situation makes it easier for terrorists to collaborate across international borders, Lt. Col. Anwar Salimov of the Interior Ministry said, referencing a report by various law enforcement agencies that discusses the issue.

Another consideration is the broad effect that terrorism can have.

"In the era of globalisation, the concept of 'regional terrorism' has been replaced by 'trans-national terrorism,'… a terrorist act in one part of the world can resonate in another," Abror S. said.

Tashkent security measures

Uzbekistan is more focused on what's happening with extremists on its own territory.

Vehicles entering and leaving the capital will be checked and security has been boosted at strategically important buildings, in outdoor public areas like parks and on public transportation, Abror S. said. Officials also cancelled an April 28 Tashkent run meant to raise awareness and funds for fighting breast cancer.

The primary goal is to ensure the safety of Uzbeks, and as a result authorities will enhance security measures across the board, Salimov said.

"In a situation like this, it is not worth taking any risks," he said, adding that other cities were adopting security measures.

And Uzbek police are continuing to arrest suspects linked to extremist and terrorist organisations.

Authorities record roughly a dozen cases regarding the spread of radical literature and of the recruitment of youths by terrorist organisations like the IMU every month, Jasurbek Akhunov, a Tashkent police officer, told Central Asia Online.

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Reader Comments

  • There is no terrorism, either Islamic or Muslim! The Uzbek people struggle against the pro-Jewish impostor Karimov’s regime that has terrorized the country for 23 years! All the blood shed by the Uzbeks is on the conscience of the existing regime. The tale of terrorism and danger is the same as their song about our great future! The Uzbeks really have the greatest future in the world - the regime runs up tens of billions in debts that have yet to be repaid even by our great grandchildren!

    June 23, 2013 @ 01:06:31AM Марат
  • May God punish these infidels! I am very glad that I live in such a calm state, that my children and grandchildren live, study and work under a peaceful sky. Thank you very much and greetings from my mother and grandmother to people who defend our peaceful sky. May God give them health and strength to fight terrorists!

    June 21, 2013 @ 07:06:37AM Гулчехра
  • Terrorists buy themselves tickets to hell.

    June 18, 2013 @ 03:06:17PM нодир
  • If we go back to nearly 260 years before,The Britishers started terrorist activities not by force,but by using and exp;oiting the rulers in the world through TRADES and then occupied the areas and started their missionary plan and people clashed with them and anarchy spred out and people came out on the roads.The Britishers got advantage of poverty in the region and used them for their own beenefits,As a result various groups were set up and people started fighting with their own countrymen and this bad situation did not prolong and people stood out for freedom and independency from this depressed system and many countries got independent from British occupants through long struggle.The Britishers looted and emptied the treaurey of these countries and left norhing for their survival.Result unrest masses started other ways to fulfil their requirements by hook or by crook.This situation is still going on.Moreover in Islamic countries British and American,French,Purtugalis got benefits of ellitracy and vast eduction was favored to females and no proper education was put into action for MALES,Females were ascertained and furnished better environamnet in the local economy and males were neglected.This was the main policies of these foreign occupants in the poor countries of the world.Males were forced to adopt unhuman and wrong ways for their daily day today requirements and they were misled by greedy people and these jobless males followed wrong ways.To eliminate terrorist,it is important to note that males should be given preferencee for jobs and means of proper ways of earnings be provided to them.Naturally when they will be busy in their jobs,no spare or rubbish activities will be going on.The Super Powers are playing double standard policies.

    June 12, 2013 @ 11:06:12PM Muhammad Younus Butt
  • The Sarts will have a hard time!

    June 12, 2013 @ 11:06:11AM таки
  • There are a lot of lies now. You do not know who to believe. I think it is necessary to believe the believers who sincerely fear of God, and not the one who does one’s best for money or fears of someone except for God.

    June 11, 2013 @ 02:06:42PM дима
  • There was a broom, it was strong and powerful. It collapsed in 1991 as its twigs fell apart. The twigs now face a test for their ability to survive. Without their unification in the broom, there is no prospect of them surviving independently. Yes, it will bend, dodge, resist, but it is not strong enough to resist for a long time. It is worth considering when it would be better to unite now before it's too late or later when it comes at a high price.

    June 11, 2013 @ 01:06:29AM anatoliy
  • There's no smoke without fire! I really think something bad is happening along the border of Uzbekistan. The Americans will soon be withdrawing troops from Afghanistan. They somehow managed to maintain order and peace in the region. After the U.S. troops withdrawal, Taliban and other terrorist organizations will rise in the area again. It will be necessary to secure the border, but it is not possible to ensure 100% border security. Some kind of "evil" will penetrate anyway and we should already be ready for a terrorist attack, just in case. The National Security Service should always be on the alert! It should also do its job. In general, if everyone did his job at least at 50% capacity, the Republic would be much better and more peaceful!

    June 10, 2013 @ 10:06:15AM Andrey
  • I would like to ask the believers: is it not with the blessing of the Almighty that a new man is born? Is not he he who decides to give a new life? Allah knows and sees all, and pays everyone according to one’s merits. So, is it not a real sin to lay claim to the role of God and assume the right to deprive people of life, a life which is given by the Almighty? So, it turns out that the terrorists are not Muslims, not believers, but true sinners... I do not pray, did not study the Koran, but I know that the first commandment of all religions is: DO NOT KILL!

    June 9, 2013 @ 04:06:04AM рано
  • Always ask yourselves who benefits from it? The West benefits from unrest in Asia. Bombers are behind human rights defenders. God, save the peaceful sky above our heads!

    June 2, 2013 @ 12:06:32PM Салима
  • During the break-up of the Soviet Union, all republics without exception lost the whole generation that has not received proper education, without means of normal existence and without an ideology (the holy place is never empty). Our generation was used by various sects, the Taliban, Al-Qaida, the IMU, etc. to make them terrorists and turn back against us. Tashkent is not to blame. The break-up of the big country is to blame!

    June 1, 2013 @ 03:06:59PM Небезразличный
  • The war on terror is the primary headache for the Uzbek khans. They are unable or unwilling to understand that it is them who are the main source of "education" (see as upbringing). Where elementary human rights are disregarded, various forces with different views get together for fighting the current government, not for terror. They use "war on terror" as a pretext to eliminate any dissent and force the people into slave-like submission.

    May 28, 2013 @ 11:05:47PM дед
  • It was a prompt response by the government to their citizens’ security! It only helps build the people’s confidence in THE LEADERSHIP OF THE COUNTRY!

    May 28, 2013 @ 06:05:47PM Константин
  • I personally think it is necessary to look inside the organization for a way to stop the killing of innocent people. As for the government, I also cannot understand it, many things are unclear, they do not allow me to speak my mind. For example, I stole and resold something, earning 10,000 and got 1 year; or I stole 1,000,000,000 and can enjoy a good life abroad.

    May 27, 2013 @ 01:05:53AM фархат
  • You can learn a lot of new things about your country by reading news on the Internet. :)))))

    May 24, 2013 @ 02:05:05PM Эвелина
  • The Uzbeks just can't get enough! Without completing three years at school, they dare to blame Our Prophet. As soon as you open a mosque for them, they become Salafis, Wahhabis, Akramias, Takhririas, etc. The CPSU was there, they all were Communists. They cannot live in peace!

    May 23, 2013 @ 12:05:55AM Панат
  • Zholdoshbek is 100% right!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 22, 2013 @ 02:05:10AM абытжан
  • The use of force alone cannot improve the situation. I appeal to the CIS presidents to work out a common ideology for the CIS. As the president of Kyrgyzstan accurately noted, “The CIS is not a post-Soviet space.” This is a territory where peoples have lived together for centuries and maintained socioeconomic ties. It is necessary to work out a common development strategy, an ideology and a way of life. The CIS cooperation format is absolutely relevant. It includes subforms and paragraphs: economics, customs affairs, the CSTO, etc. Every country depending on its socioeconomic and political situation chooses a cooperation paragraph, but there should be a common ideological base. My proposals have been published at http://medvedevu.ru/news/arkheologija_ideologija/2012-01-07-21417.

    May 22, 2013 @ 02:05:53AM М.Шепелин
  • We should be vigilant, support each other, and unite on a rainy day. Not only regional and international authorities should prevent such attacks, but ordinary people should by patriotic to defend their Motherland. Day and night.

    May 21, 2013 @ 06:05:33PM Рая
  • I have heard only good things about the Salafites until recently. They preach beneficence, not terror.

    May 20, 2013 @ 09:05:24PM Владимир
  • All of it is an invention by the Russian government.

    May 20, 2013 @ 03:05:37AM иии
  • Fighting against terrorism in Central Asia is not only the top priority for Tashkent but also for all of its neighbors, including Beijing and Moscow. It is necessary to work together in a coordinated manner under a single command center. The early spring cleared mountain paths from ice, and the withdrawal of NATO forces from AFGHANISTAN prompted terrorists to step up their activity on the border with our neighbors. IMU and Taliban have been dreaming for a long time to start fire in Central Asian republics. The Arab spring and the recruitment of young radicals in Kyrgyzstan to fight in Syria are another factor. Today, there is no accurate information about how many crazy boys went there from Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan. That is why the secret services of all the republics have a lot of work. When there is an external enemy, good neighbors usually unite to fight the enemy. Isn’t it time to review our relationship with the enemy at our gate???!!!

    May 12, 2013 @ 02:05:47PM Жолдошбек Сулайманов
  • Long live independence of countries! As an Iranian, I condemn such attacks. These types of attacks show terrorists weakness in confronting an independent nation. The regional and international nations should prevent such attacks by supporting each other.

    May 9, 2013 @ 07:05:18AM صائب