Central Asia: Facing Radical Islam Russie.Nei.Visions, No. 98, Ifri, February 2017
Twenty-five years after the fall of the Soviet Union and the declaration of independence by the republics of Central Asia, the issue of guaranteeing stability and security still looms large on Central Asia’s agenda.
For a long time, terrorism and extremism were not seen as serious threats to regional security. For a time, Central Asian governments even denied that the threat of terrorism existed because they did not want to indirectly acknowledge that some of the preconditions for terrorism were present in the region. If radicalism, extremism and terrorism were discussed, it was only in the context of external threats, while the idea of terrorist threats originating from Afghanistan was more common. Therefore it came as something of a surprise to local societies and to Central Asian governments themselves when they began to notice that radical groups were operating in the region.
Erlan Karin is Director of the Kazakh Institute for Strategic Studies under the President of Kazakhstan (KazISS), and President of the Kazakhstan Political Science Association.