TASHKENT -- Uzbekistan is lining up with other ex-Soviet countries in a bid to fight extremism.
At the latest meeting of the CIS Interior Ministers' Council (SMVD) September 6, representatives of CIS countries, including Uzbekistani Interior Minister Adkham Akhmedbayev, decided to develop a multi-national programme against transnational crime, which will run from 2019 to 2023.
"For the new programme, we will develop a framework to help law enforcement agencies co-operate on eliminating synthetic drugs, and a plan for dealing with extremist threats and stopping CIS citizens from being recruited into illegal groups participating in armed conflicts in the Middle East," CIS Executive Secretary Sergey Lebedev said during the meeting.
CIS co-operation to fight terrorism and extremism in past years has been fruitful, and now police are planning to uncover more crimes with active international co-operation, officials said.
The SMVD, founded in 1996, enables co-operation among police in CIS countries and oversees the Anti-Organised Crime Co-ordination Office (BKBOP). Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan are all members of the SMVD.
"Among the office's tasks are fighting extremists and terrorists," Uzbekistani political analyst Valerii Khan told Caravanserai.
CIS countries are searching for more than 5,000 individuals linked with terrorism, CIS Anti-Terror Centre chief Andrey Novikov said at the SMVD.
"We need organised co-operation from CIS interior ministries, border services and immigration services to identify individuals who have not returned to CIS states from the Middle East and are potential militants or recruiters," Novikov said.
He continued, "And [we must] work with public and religious organisations and educational institutions to stop CIS citizens from being recruited into terrorist and extremist organisations."
Novikov also stressed the need to step up the fight against extremist recruiters in Central Asia. Uzbekistan is actively working to support the centre's activities.
Central Asian countries have in recent years improved their cooperation despite disputes over issues like water allocation and transport. "Of course, that effects the ability of law enforcement agencies to work together and, consequently, their success in providing security," he said.
Still, statistics show that BKBOP member states, including Uzbekistan, are making gains through international co-operation and police work.
According to the organisation's official report, 429 terrorists and extremists were captured in joint law enforcement agency operations in 2015. Police seized 1,823 weapons and 963 explosive devices from them.
In addition, CIS security agencies' joint operations showcased their effectiveness in combating drug trafficking with the seizure of 4.6 tonnes of drugs in 2015, according to the BKBOP report.