Central Asia: Blood Is Thicker Than Islam


October 26, 2010: Police have discovered a new Islamic terrorist group, Jamaat Ansarullah, in the northern Tajikistan portion of the Fergana Valley. This area is one of the most agriculturally productive, and densely populated, in the region. Portions of the valley are shared by Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan, and has long been an incubator of Islamic radicals. The Tajik believe the northern part of the country is home to hundreds of Islamic radicals, but is having a hard time finding any of them. Tajik police have found one terrorist camp recently, but in the southeast, about 80 kilometers from the Afghan border. This camp, and others, are operated by the IMU (Islamic Union of Uzbekistan). Last month, ISU gunmen killed at least 40 soldiers. The IMU has been active since 1991, mainly in Afghanistan and Pakistan.  

October 17, 2010: In southeastern Tajikistan, police killed three Islamic terrorists (apparently belonging to IMU).

October 12, 2010: In Kyrgyzstan, the nationalist Ata-Zhurt party unexpectedly came in first in the recent elections. The head of the party insists that the head of the BSNB (state security police) has been persecuting him. Ata-Zhurt  was formed by followers of deposed (last April) president Kurmanbek Bakiyev. Ata-Zhurt has the support of many Kyrgyz who favor expelling all Uzbeks from the country. The Uzbeks are common in the south, where Kyrgyzstan occupies part of the lush Fergana Valley. During the Soviet period, the provincial borders in the Fergana Valley made little difference, and local ethnic groups  (Tajiks, Uzbeks, and Kyrgyz) intermingled. Now those old provincial borders are national frontiers, and the ancient ethnic animosities have reappeared.

October 10, 2010: For the first time, Kyrgyzstan has held elections for a parliamentary democracy (rather than a strong president and weak parliament). Five (out of 29) parties made the cut (won at least five percent of all votes) and won seats. These members of parliament have to form a coalition to rule. Some 53 percent eligible voters participated. To deal with accusations of cheating, a recount is underway, but the government refuses to run the election again. The recount is expected to allow a sixth party to make it into parliament. Some of the parties that gained no seats are threatening violence if a recount, or new election, does not get them the seats they believed they deserve.

October 8, 2010: In the last few days, 34 soldiers were killed in the southeast, 28 from a helicopter crash, and rest fighting Islamic terrorists.

October 6, 2010: The fighting in the southeast is the result of more police entering remote parts of the southeast in August, searching for 25 Islamic terrorists who had broken out of prison. The police were ambushed, and soon found that they had gotten too near to an area where there were several Islamic terrorist camps.


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