Staunton, November 11 – The Anti-Terrorist Center of Kazakhstan says there are some 20,000 residents of that country suspected of having links to Islamist groups. At present, they are concentrated in the two capitals, Almaty and Nur-Sultan, a few other major cities, and especially in the Caspian port city of Altyrau.
Their presence in the last is of great concern to the other Caspian littoral states – the Russian Federation, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Iran – because of the ease of movement among the port cities (casp-geo.ru/prikaspijskij-kazahstanskij-gorod-atyrau-lider-po-chislu-islamistov/ and ktk.kz/ru/news/video/2019/11/06/133371/).
Kazakh officials say that “despite the fact that Russia, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan” – three Caspian littoral states – “are separated from the breeding grounds of instability on the territories of neighboring states, they completely share with them all the problems which give rise to the activity of followers of terrorist organizations” elsewhere.
Such reports suggest that the ports of the Caspian Sea which Moscow has done so much to promote contacts among may become centers for the transmission and recruitment of Islamist terrorists, thus creating problems for some or all of the littoral states that few anticipated would come from this direction.