Combating Terrorism in Afghanistan: Implications for Central Asia
in Global Terrorism: Its Genesis, Implications, Remedial and Counter Measures
(Islamabad: Institute of Regional Studies, 2005), pp 170-85
Domestic political repression is generally believed to be an important factor causing religious extremism and terrorism. Since independence, five Central Asian republics have been ruled by regimes known for repressive practices. Their people had aspired for greater political freedom after the Soviet collapse. These aspirations remained unfulfilled, as Central Asia has continued to be ruled by old communist-turned nationalist political elites. The Taliban rule in Afghanistan did foster Muslim extremism in Central Asia. However, the same factor enabled the region’s repressive governments—particularly those of Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan—to divert international attention away from their political repression and towards the threat of religious extremism from Taliban-led Afghanistan. The US-led War on Terror in Afghanistan that began essentially in this backdrop has worsened the political situation in Central Asia, as it has provided an additional excuse to the region’s regimes to crush political opposition by simply branding them as religious extremists and terrorists. Full Text