| Terrorism

Terror threat in Uzbekistan remains low: report

By Maksim Yeniseyev


An Uzbekistani border guard patrols Friendship Bridge, which connects Uzbekistan with Afghanistan, in the winter of 2014-2015. [Uzbekistani Defence Ministry photo obtained by Maksim Yeniseyev]

An Uzbekistani border guard patrols Friendship Bridge, which connects Uzbekistan with Afghanistan, in the winter of 2014-2015. [Uzbekistani Defence Ministry photo obtained by Maksim Yeniseyev]

TASHKENT -- Uzbekistani authorities have welcome a newly published report that ranks their country low on a key terrorism index.

The Global Terrorism Index 2016, published on November 16 by the Sydney-based Institute for Economics and Peace, categorised all countries by the impact of terrorism on them.

Uzbekistan was tied for 117th with Montenegro, out of 163 countries.

Registering such a low rank for terrorism impacts is a major achievement Tashkent-based political scientist Valerii Khan told Caravanserai. Iraq ranked first in the study.

"Uzbekistan has been free of terrorist attacks since 2004, which keeps the country at the very bottom of the index," Khan said. "This is clearly the result of effective security measures."

"If you ask any Uzbekistani about the country's accomplishments, the first thing you'll hear about is security," Tashkent resident Nodira Yusupova told Caravanserai. "It's a source of pride for us."

Finishing in a tie for 117th put Uzbekistan among the 50 safest countries on earth. Within Central Asia, only Turkmenistan outranked Uzbekistan as safer from terrorism according to the report.

Fighting off ISIL recruitment

Uzbekistani authorities recognise a never-ending threat from the "Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant" (ISIL), which proselytises among Uzbekistani migrant workers abroad and tries to infiltrate Uzbekistan.

Turkish authorities encountered the ISIL problem again in November, according to a November 23 story by the Turkish newspaper Yeni Şafak.

Police in Istanbul recently arrested two suspected would-be ISIL suicide bombers, an Uzbekistani national and a Tajik national, the newspaper reported. They are awaiting trial in Turkey.

As of now, Interpol is pursuing seven Uzbekistani nationals in connection with charges of terrorism, according to a search of the dossiers of the 96 wanted Uzbekistanis listed on the police agency's website.

The Uzbekistani Interior Ministry (MVD) has a longer list of fugitives, amounting to 1,444 names in 2010, the last time it published that list. Of those 1,444, 633 are accused of membership in the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU).

Some observers would like more frequent updating of such records.

"I think the MVD IT department should be much more active," a Tashkent police officer who requested anonymity told Caravanserai.

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