Threat of the ISIL and Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyzstan's soldiers take part in the military parade marking the 70th anniversary of the victory in the Great Patriotic War, at Ala Too Square in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. (Xinhua/Roman) (zjy)

Kyrgyzstan’s soldiers take part in the military parade marking the 70th anniversary of the victory in the Great Patriotic War, at Ala Too Square in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. (Xinhua/Roman) (zjy)

Kyrgyzstan is a country where the level of democracy and freedom of speech is significantly different from the neighboring countries. The gradually growing economy already requires an increase in electricity generation. For further development of the economy, Kyrgyzstan needs to attract foreign investment. The state’s attempts to attract investors from Russia for the construction of hydropower plants were disrupted by the difficulties faced by Russia in itself, which is why now the country is looking for new potential investors. However, limited capacity and the volatility of stability in the country prevent investors from being interested in Kyrgyzstan’s offers. On the other hand, Kyrgyzstan is part of the Central Asian region, which has an increased risk of being targeted by international terrorist and reactionary Islamist groups.

After the withdrawal of the armed forces of the United States and the anti-terrorist coalition, the situation in Afghanistan has been increasingly heating. Besides the Taliban movement, dissemination of ideas of jihadism, led by ISIL, has been becoming increasingly more relevant in Afghanistan. ISIL activists have already infiltrated Central Asian countries. In Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, there were cases of open demonstration of ISIL’s flags on the main streets of Dushanbe and Tashkent. These cases confirm the increase in ISIL’s spread in other countries of the region.
Meanwhile, in order to attract tourists and potential investors, Kyrgyzstan has opened its borders for visa-free entry for citizens of 60 countries. Such regulations create good conditions for foreign citizens, however members of terrorist groups can use these conditions to enter the country more easily. Local media has been regularly voicing such concerns and informing the public about the possible dangers of these regulations. Public authorities now have to carry intensive work to identify possible agents. The media claims there is already a number of fighters who are waiting for the right time to strike.

The National Security Service of Kyrgyzstan believes that the terrorist threats come primarily from outside. The head of the National Security Service informed the media that only 2.5% of foreigners who entered in Kyrgyzstan for the first ten months of 2015 were registered. Inspections identified the perpetrators of the stay, and 265 foreigners were deported from Kyrgyzstan in 2016.

Flowers are seen outside the French Embassy in tribute to the victims of the Paris terrorist attacks, in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan (Xinhua/Roman)

Flowers are seen outside the French Embassy in tribute to the victims of the Paris terrorist attacks, in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan (Xinhua/Roman)

However, it is not possible to say exactly how many foreigners were not identified, especially in the areas of the country bordering with Tajikistan. With respect to the identified 265 people, it was decided to not allow them into Kyrgyzstan in the future. Those who understand the complexity of the current situation raise the question about publicizing this problem, as well as support the notion of cancelling the visa-free regime for many of the third-world countries. This way society can protect themselves from potential danger. This question has been raised in the parliament, who must decide what is more important to the country – visa-free regime with dozens of countries or careful study of potential tourists with the aim of securing the country. Meanwhile, Kyrgyzstan as a tourist attraction has been growing year by year. Every year the number of foreigners visiting Kyrgyzstan reaches 2 million or more, and they come during both winter and summer. Thus, the economy receives a certain stimulus for development.

Because of these complexities, as well as due to the fact that the international situation is becoming increasingly complicated, comprehensive measures to counter the extremist threats have not yet been taken. Attempts to introduce controls at strategic sites will not solve the problem, because there is no concept of “state” and “borders” for the modern terrorist organizations and only joint efforts of the state and society could stop them. The situation is further complicated by the fact that, along with the strengthening of propaganda by extremist groups online, physical agitation among the population ready to deny such activities is absent. Against the backdrop of economic difficulties, the majority of young people are not completely aware of the concepts and realities of religion and extremism. This results in more ‘believers’ in the country, while the general level of education decreases.

Soldiers participate in the exercise of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member states near Bishkek, capital of Kyrgyzstan. (Xinhua/Roman) (zhf)

Soldiers participate in the exercise of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member states near Bishkek, capital of Kyrgyzstan. (Xinhua/Roman) (zhf)

Over the past twenty years, the number of mosques in Kyrgyzstan has increased by 10 times, while the number of schools has remained almost unchanged. They are now almost equal in Kyrgyzstan – some 2,300 mosques and 2,400 schools. And now, an active part of society and the media is debating the restraining the construction of mosques. Some of the religious people can easily become the victim of propaganda and they are more likely to go to the place where the religious wars are waged. Most of them are leaving for Syria. Ministry of Internal Affairs has recently published that 508 Kyrgyz citizens went to Syria and Iraq to fight alongside ISIL. Some of them return and pose a potential threat to society.

In 2015, two operations on neutralization of terrorist groups and criminal elements have been successfully carried out in Bishkek. Almost all returning jihadists from Syria are under the supervision of law enforcement and intelligence agencies. More than 1,000 criminal cases related to the campaigning and recruitment into extremist organizations and dissemination of relevant literature were opened in the state. Kyrgyz media actively covers any events associated with the departure of its citizens to Syria, thus trying to attract the attention of society and authorities to this problem. In general, society has a negative attitude to such phenomena.

However, departure of such people does not depend solely on their religious beliefs, but mostly takes place due to the fact that the economic situation is forcing them to seek a better life abroad. Extremist agitators then use this to lure them in with easy money, subsequently, naive and poorly educated people fall for the bait. In such circumstances, the state has only one way: to improve the living standards of the population as soon as possible, and that can only be done with improvement of the state economy. And to implement that, the state needs to attract investors.

Widgetized Section

Go to Admin » appearance » Widgets » and move a widget into Advertise Widget Zone