12 March 2013, 12:47
Outlawed Islamist group seeks to boost foothold in Fergana Valley - analyst
Tashkent, March 12, Interfax - The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), which has been banned in Central Asian countries, has been making attempts recently to smuggle its fighters into Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.
"Instability in the Fergana Valley and along the Kyrgyz and Uzbek borders stems from an upsurge in terrorist activity in the region," Uzbek news websites said, citing analysts.
IMU militants want to "return to the Fergana Valley and bolster their positions there," Ubaidullo Khakimov, a former officer of law enforcement agencies and a security expert, was quoted by the websites as saying.
"As long as mountain passes are covered with snow, it will be quite difficult for them [IMU fighters] to do so, but they will try to smuggle some of their people there in spring," the analyst said.
However, the transportation of militants "has already started to a certain extent", which can be confirmed by recent reports about the arrest of IMU members in Tajikistan, he said.
For his part, an unnamed employee of the Uzbek National Security Service's analytical department, said that at the moment IMU is vigorously recruiting and training militants in districts of Pakistan and Afghanistan located near the border.
IMU has been seeking broader ties with Dagestani, Chechen and ethnic Uyghur Islamic militants, he said.
"On one hand, it points to growing dangers, but, on the other hand, it indicates that IMU has insufficient forces of its own," the expert said.
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