Kyrgyzstan: Pentagon Auditors Taking Look at Northern Distribution Network
By Deirdre Tynan
February 9, 2011
The U.S. Department of Defense’s Office of the Inspector General (DoD OIG) is conducting an audit of transit operations on the Northern Distribution Network.
The DoD OIG is tasked with uncovering fraud, waste, abuse and mismanagement in the U.S. military. The Northern Distribution Network (NDN) is an increasingly important supply chain that brings non-military goods and fuel to U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan. Goods are shipped via Russia and Central Asia – passing through some of the most corrupt countries in the world, according to international monitoring groups.
The audit, which began this year, aims to “assess DoD oversight of the Northern Distribution Network and evaluate the ability of DoD to plan, coordinate, and execute sustainment operations for Afghanistan through the Northern Distribution Network.”
Gary Comerford, the chief of public affairs for the Inspector General, told EurasiaNet.org he was unable to expand further on the scope or activities of the assessment at this time.
Sources in Washington, D.C., said the DoD OIG has taken a broad interest in the NDN, including the procurement of fuel in Central Asia.
In 2010, roughly 30 percent of all cargos destined for U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan went through Central Asia. In addition, roughly 60 percent of fuel consumed by U.S. troops in Afghanistan was delivered via “northern routes,” as opposed to the Pakistani corridor.
According to Transparency International’s 2010 survey of global corruption, the least corrupt Central Asian state was Kazakhstan, which ranked 105th out of the 178 nations surveyed, with 1 being the least corrupt and 178 being the most corrupt. Other NDN transit states were identified as corruption hotspots: Tajikistan ranked 154th, Kyrgyzstan 164th, and Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan were tied at 172nd. Only Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia and Myanmar were deemed more corrupt that Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
The Department of Defense appears to have long been aware that transport operations were vulnerable to corrupt practices in Central Asia. Documentation obtained by EurasiaNet.org under the Freedom of Information Act showed that prospective Pentagon contractors openly acknowledged that the payment of “informal fees” was often required to “keep business moving.”
Paul Quinn-Judge, Central Asia Project Director for the International Crisis Group, described the region as an “exceedingly difficult place for anyone who wants to do business in an open, non-corrupt way.”
“The DoD’s overwhelming concern is supporting the war in Afghanistan. But when one looks at the variety of allegations and rumors surrounding DoD’s fuel contracting practices at the Manas air base in Kyrgyzstan, you get the impression that everything else was subordinated to concluding the contract,” Quinn-Judge said.
Deirdre Tynan is a Bishkek-based reporter specializing in Central Asian affairs.
The following article is reprinted with permission from EurasiaNet. (Map added by Inteltrends.)
Kyrgyzstan: Bishkek Preparing Ground for Crackdown on Religious Radicals
By Deirdre Tynan
January 5, 2011
Authorities in Kyrgyzstan appear to be laying the groundwork for a broad crackdown on perceived religious radicals, following January 4 firefights that left four law-enforcement officers and two alleged militants dead.
Top security officials in Bishkek described the incidents as a call to arms against perceived Islamic militants. “A war has been declared on all of us… We must distinguish between good and evil. Today evil is wearing the mask of a believer, trying to intimidate us, to cause panic and division,” Interior Minister Zarylbek Rysaliyev was quoted as saying in a statement posted on the ministry’s website.
Kyrgyz authorities have cast the militants responsible for the January 4 shootings as “jihadis” connected to a bomb blast on November 30 at the Sports Palace and a foiled Christmas day car bomb attempt at police headquarters in Bishkek.
Three police officers were killed in a southern suburb on the evening of January 4 amid a “routine” document check near an apartment complex. The suspects opened fire with automatic weapons unexpectedly after being stopped. They then fled the scene, authorities said on January 5.
Hours later, the militants were cornered in an abandoned house near Arashan village, south of the capital. One militant blew himself up, another was shot and killed, and a third was seriously wounded and taken into custody. An officer from the elite Alfa unit also died during the gunfire exchange. According to local news sources, the dead Alfa unit member was to face trial for his alleged role in the April 7 events that toppled ex-president Kurmanbek Bakiyev. More than 80 protestors died during those initial protests.
Without producing evidence to substantiate their claims, security officials asserted the suspects were affiliated with an unnamed Islamic radical group. “This is a religious extremist group whose activists and leaders were trained in specialized camps in Pakistan and Afghanistan. They are adherents of radical persuasions and the brains behind the group aim to create a caliphate on the territory of the Ferghana valley,” Marat Imankulov, the first deputy chairman of the State National Security Committee, told the 24.kg news agency on January 5.
Separately in Bishkek on January 5, human rights activists and the families of nine suspects previously arrested in connection with the November blast at the Sports Palace, which is being used as a make-shift court house, said the cases against them are fabricated. They also say that their confessions were obtained via the use of torture.
Deirdre Tynan is a Bishkek-based reporter specializing in Central Asian affairs.
The following article is reprinted with permission from news agency 24.kg, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
Kyrgyz Defense Minister: Kyrgyzstan settled all issues regarding an agreement on setting up a united Russian military base on the territory of the republic
By Julia Mazykina
January 3, 2011
“The Kyrgyz side has settled all issues regarding an agreement on setting up a united Russian military base on the territory of Kyrgyzstan, including those concerning the conditions and status of Russian military servicemen in the republic,” Kyrgyz Defense Minister Abibulla Kudayberdiev told Interfax.
Reportedly, Kyrgyzstan and Russia are planning to sign the agreement on joint Russian military base on the territory of the republic in 2011.
Abibulla Kudayberdiev said that the draft of agreement will be forwarded to Russia and then submitted to the Kyrgyz Parliament. There are four Russian military facilities on the territory of Kyrgyzstan at the moment. “Among them are facilities that serve the interests of both Russia and Kyrgyzstan and those working only in Russia’s interests,” he said.”We plan to increase the size of compensatory payments for the facilities serving Russia’s interests by several times,” noted Kyrgyz Defense Minister.
Supposedly, compensatory payments for the presence of Russian servicemen in Kyrgyzstan could grow threefold or fourfold. At the present time, the annual payment amounts to about $4.5 million. “Russia pays for renting Kyrgyz territory for its facilities not in cash, but cadets from Kyrgyzstan undergo training in Russia and Kyrgyzstan receives military hardware from Russia toward this account,” concluded Abibulla Kudayberdiev.
The following commentary is reprinted with permission from Russia’s Strategic Culture Foundation.
Radical Islam attacks Central Asia
© Aleksandr Shustov
Source: Strategic Culture Foundation
November 26, 2010
Hizb ut-Tahrir and other similar international radical Islamic political organizations have intensified their activities in Central Asia. In Tajikistan several dozens of members of Hizb ut-Tahrir have been arrested. During such arrests police usually finds batches of books, brochures, CDs with the propaganda of radical Islam.
In August, a court in the north of Tajikistan sentenced 10 members of Hizb ut-Tahrir to prison terms from 3 to 15 years. Besides the members of Hizb ut-Tahrir the members of Salafiyyah and Tablighi Jamaat are also prosecuted and last year more than one hundred of supporters of these organizations were convicted.
On November 22, it was reported about the detention of a high ranking envoy of Hizb ut-Tahrir in Kyrgyzstan. During his arrest the police found a standard set of a Hizb ut-Tahrir member: books, journals, brochures and digital media with materials promoting the party’s ideas in Russian, Kyrgyz and Uzbek languages. It was reported that Hizb ut-Tahrir was “occupying Kyrgyzstan” and its goal was to penetrate into the government and to exclude the party from the list of the illegal organizations. Hizb ut-Tahrir is recruiting state officials, businessmen, parliamentarians into its ranks paving the road for the Islamic state.
Working with the population Hizb ut-Tahrir sticks to missionary tactics – they satisfy people’s social and daily wants, collect money to buy food and clothes, allocate interest free mini-loans. By doing all this, the party avoids the ban on its activities in Kyrgyzstan and attracts new supporters showing a fair social model to the population in the state of the future, which is a caliphate. Amid the long-term political crisis in Kyrgyzstan and living standards decline this tactics works successfully.
Different figures were published about the number of active supporters of the radical Islam in Kyrgyzstan. The 2009 report of the U.S. State Department on terrorism states that in 2006-2008 the number of Hizb ut-Tahrir members has increased threefold in Kyrgyzstan reaching 15,000.
According to S. Mikhametrakhimova from the Institute of War and Peace, the number of Hizb ut-Tahrir supporters in Kyrgyzstan reaches 20,000 people. According to the maximum estimations, this autumn the number of Hizb ut-Tahrir’s fellow travelers in Kyrgyzstan has reached 100,000 people.
According to the official data (which are most likely undersized), the national security forces of Kyrgyzstan comprise 1,700 permanent members of the party. If earlier radical Islam activists acted only in the south of the country and worked mainly with the Uzbek population, now Hizb ut-Tahrir is moving to the north promoting its ideas in Russian and Kyrgyz languages.
The intensification of Hizb ut-Tahrir reflects the general trend of Isalmization of the Kyrgyz society. The ideologies of parties Taza Dyn Kharakaty (Pure Islam movement), Akyl-Es-Ruh-Yiman (Wisdom-Spirit-Faith) are very close to Hizb ut-Tahrir’s ideology – they see Kyrgyzstan as part of the Islamic World. Taza Dyn Kharakaty is mainly financed by the Turkish religious organization IBDA-C (İslami Büyükdoğu Akıncılar Cephesi – the Great Eastern Islamic Raiders’ Front). Since the beginning of the year IBDA-C transferred about $1.5 million to Taza Dyn Kharakaty on holding propaganda campaigns, the circulation of informational materials and renting the headquarters in Bishkek.
The involvement of the young people in Kyrgyzstan into radical Islamic movements arouses a serious concern. In the situation of high unemployment rate, low living standards and lack of trust to the authorities they easily join the radical Islam organizations. This trend is typical not only for Kyrgyzstan. After a terrorist attack in Khudzhand and clashes in the Rasht valley with armed units of Islamists among whom were many people who had received religious education abroad, the authorities of Tajikistan launched a campaign on the return of Tajik students from foreign religious educational institutions. In mid November more than 500 students returned home and several days later another 136 students arrived.
However the ban for receiving religious education abroad, the wear of traditional clothes or attempts to limit the influence of mosques and madrassas are unable to bring the trend of islamization of Central Asian society in reverse. The weakness of the authorities and social economic degradation makes the strengthening of radical islamic organizations there inevitable.
The following article is reprinted with permission from Ferghana News Agency.
Tajik security services kill two militants of Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan
Source: Ferghana.ru (citing Interfax)
October 21, 2010 18:01
Tajik security services killed two members of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) in northern Tajikistan on Thursday, the National Security Committee said, Interfax reports.
Tajik experts said one of the killed militants was the first woman in the ranks of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan.
The operation took place in Childukhatoron, near Isfara, 430 kilometers northeast of Dushanbe, and close to the borders with Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan.
“The Sogd District department of the National Security Committee traced two members of the terrorist Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan – Mukhtasar Miramonova and Akram Nasimjon both born in Isfara in 1985 – on October 21,” the committee said.
“The aforesaid individuals resisted the police and were killed in a clash,” the committee said.
They were carrying two Kalashnikov submachine guns with five cartridge clips, a Makarov pistol and an F-1 grenade.
Tajikistan’s Security Service blamed the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) for involvement in organizing the explosion at the headquarters of the Khujand Regional Department for Combating Organized Crime on September 3. Three police officers were killed in the blast and 28 others sustained injuries.
Dozens of IMU and Hizb ut-Tahrir activists are arrested in the region each year. The Sogd Region is the Tajik sector of the Ferghana Valley at the junction between Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, where the influence of various extremist organizations is strong.
The Tajik authorities also blames the IMU for organizing previous bombings, including the explosion in Dushanbe in January and June 2005 and near the Emergency Situations Ministry building in 2007. Ten to 15 IMU members are convicted in Tajikistan annually.
The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, set up in Afghanistan in 1996, wants all secular governments in Central Asia to be toppled in order to become Islamic states.
The following article is reprinted with permission from Kavkaz Center, Caucasus Emirate (mujahideen) news agency.
Central Asia becomes a new territory of Jihad
© Kavkaz Center
September 30, 2010 14:34 Emirate time
A public lecture entitled “A new arc of instability (the probability and potential destabilization in Central Asia in context of the processes taking place in Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan)” was held on September 28 in the Alma-Ata Institute of Political Decisions.
At this “new intellectual format” from the Club of the Institute of Political Decisions, representatives of the local expert community and media representatives talked to well-known experts on the War against Islam in Central Asia and South Asia, Marlene Laruelle (France) and Alexander Knyazev (Russia).
As the experts formulated, “the new arc of instability” is a probability of situational involvement into a single conflict zone of prolonged actions in Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.
Disagreeing somewhere in details, Marlene Laruelle and Alexander Knyazev were unanimous in identifying the main trends in today’s Afghanistan. They mentioned increasing intensification of the IEA [Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan] Mujahideen forces and the resistance movement against foreign military presence, a tendency to reduce military presence of the ISAF and the Operation Enduring Freedom, an ongoing lack of strength of Karzai’s puppets, inability to establish a regional ethno-tribal balance in Afghanistan’s political elite of apostates in short to medium time periods.
Marlene Laruelle called the Afghan problem a “deadlock”, stating that the mistake has been made by the very beginning of Western military operations in Afghanistan, as well as in its continuation, but leaving the situation in the present state, according to this fierce enemy of Islam, would be also a mistake.
In the context of the Central Asian perspective, Alexander Knyazev emphasized two important trends: it is a “reincarnation” of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) and its revitalization, according to the infidel expert, in the north-eastern provinces (Takhar, Kunduz, Badakhshan, partly in the Baghlan, Samangan, Batgiz, Faryab), and trends towards the resumption of activities of the IMU in Central Asia.
Symptoms of a possibility for the renewed jihad in Tajikistan, Alexander Knyazev says, are a chain of events that began in the spring of the last year, when unrest in the Garm group of districts, Tavildaraand and the Rasht valley reflected the protest of former commanders of the United Tajik Opposition (UTO) against reprisals by the Rahmon government.
In March-April 2010, followed unrest caused by socio-economic reasons in Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region which was a counter-reaction to an aggressive policy of Rahmon against survived and non-imprisoned UTO representatives and clergy.
The last few months show a strong conflict dynamics:
· August 22, 2010; escape of Mujahideen from the prison of Rahmon’s KGB,
· August 26, 2010; mass riots in Nurek,
· September 3, 2010; an explosion outside the building of the gang of Organized anti-Crime unit in Khujand; for the first time, with a martyr bomber in the region,
· September 6 2010; an explosion in the den of vice “Dusti” in Dushanbe,
· 17 September 2010; an attack on Rahmon’s troops in a suburb of Dushanbe,
· September 18, 2010; clashes with Mujahideen in Faizabad district,
· September 20, 2010; Mujahideen attacked a military convoy in the Rasht valley.
The situation in Kyrgyzstan is characterized as recurrent. The situation is “aggravated” in favor of the Mujahideen by multidirectional external stimuli (U.S., Russia, China, etc.).
According to Knyazev, if we take into account the strong potential of the IMU, as well as the synthesis of ethnic and religious factors of the Uzbek community in the south, the situation for the infidels “looks almost menacing”.
Meanwhile, according to the Wall Street Journal, the IEA refuted the attempts of the Rahmon’s regime to write off the operations of the Mujahideen of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan on the Afghan Mujahideen.
“The policy of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is not to interfere in neighboring countries. This is Tajikistan’s domestic issue”, the newspaper quoted the IEA spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed who allegedly said that “in an interview”.
The newspaper does not specify what interview it was, as well as where and when it was published.
Department of Monitoring
The following article is reprinted with permission from news agency 24.kg, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
Uzbek border guards took hostage a group of Kyrgyz border guards headed by Colonel on neutral territory of border zone in Batken (Kyrgyzstan)
By Darya Podolskaya
September 1, 2010
The Uzbek border guards took hostage a group of the Kyrgyz border guards headed by Colonel on neutral territory of the border zone in Batken (Kyrgyzstan). Tashtemir Eshaliev, the head of Defense and Regional Security Department at the regional state administration, told 24.kg news agency.
According to him, this morning a group of border guards from Kyrgyzstan crossed the border to the neutral zone to meet with counterparts from Uzbekistan, who defend the approaches to the border in Fergana Valley. They were going to talk about the opening of a transit corridor through the Uzbek enclaves of Sokh and Shakhimardan.
“However they failed to hold any negotiations. An armed detachment from Uzbekistan took our guards to an unknown destination for allegedly illegal crossing the border line. But this is a pure provocation. Now we are waiting for the chairman of the State Border Service of Kyrgyzstan to resolve the incident,” said Tashtemir Eshaliev.
He stressed that as a whole the situation in the border area remains calm.