Tuesday, August 31, 2021

FSB Arrests Show Importance of Osh-Centered Islamist Threat to Russia, Gorevoy Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, August 30 – The recent arrest of 31 terrorists by the FSB calls attention to two things many have not focused on: the importance of southern Kyrgyzstan as a recruiting ground for terrorists now in Russia, and the way in which these terrorists are funded by levies of Kyrgyz and Uzbek migrants from there and by the drug trade, Ruslan Gorevoy says

            The Nasha versiya commentator says that the terrorists include Kyrgyz, Uzbeks and Uyghurs, reflecting the ethnic composition of southern Kyrgyzstan and that they are financed by levies on the large diaspora populations of these nations in Russia and by the drug trade coming from Afghanistan (versia.ru/novaya-volna-islamskogo-yekstremizma-kto-yeti-lyudi-otkuda-oni-i-kto-ix-soderzhit).

            Based on Moscow’s experience with the Qatib organization a decade ago, the FSB has gone after those who handle the money for the terrorists; and with their arrest, Gorevoy says, the Russian security service is likely going to be able to arrest far more. But he notes that the authorities have been reluctant to provide details.

            One reason for this may be because they are in the middle of an operation and don’t want to disrupt it. Another may be concerns that talking about the way the diasporas are involved in funding terrorism could be politically explosive in Russia. And yet another may be the new situation in Afghanistan.

            If the Taliban return to their past use of the drug trade to finance their operations as many expect, the terrorist network that the FSB has pursued not just in Central Asia and the Russian capitals but throughout the country may not only spread further but become more active, a development the organs are trying to prevent.

            Gorevoy cites MGIMO expert Mikhail Aleksandrov to the effect that the latest FSB move represents “a major success” for Moscow, one connected with events in Afghanistan because Osh “is part of the Afghan drug trafficking network.” Unless that is disrupted, more money will flow into terrorist networks inside Russia.

            The Nasha versiya commentator says that the FSB “by all appearance is afraid that Afghanistan again could become a base for international terrorists who will establish links with the terrorist underground on Russian territory.” And that underground now exists wherever there are Central Asian diasporas who are a breeding ground of and funder for terrorist activities.

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