2014-04-17 16:27:00

Beijing: Islamists control regional drug trafficking routes

Dushanbe, April 17, Interfax - Extremist religious organizations, among them Hizb ut-Tahrir and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan affiliated with Al-Qaeda, control drug trafficking routes which contribute the lion's share of their financing, Chinese Public Security Minister Guo Shengkun said on Thursday.

Drug trafficking and transnational organized crime are still the main threats to the stability and security of the region and regional countries, Guo told secretaries of the security councils of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member states in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.

New regional trends require the close attention of SCO member countries - Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, he said.

The notorious terrorist organizations, such as the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, the Islamic Jihad and the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, are energetically returning to the region, and new terrorist organizations emerge and launch their operations, the Chinese minister told the SCO colleagues.

These organizations act in a brazen manner, he said.

Many routes of drug trafficking are controlled by the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and Hizb ut-Tahrir and the link between terrorism and drug trafficking is growing closer, Guo said.

According to the information possessed by the Chinese government, terrorists and extremists from Central and South Asia are fighting in the Middle East and North Africa and gaining combat experience.

The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, which is affiliated with Al-Qaeda, calls for the violent toppling of secular governments in Central Asian republics and their transformation into Islamic states. The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan has been branded as terrorist in the United States, Russia and some other countries.

Hizb ut-Tahrir al-Islami was founded in Palestine in 1953. It advocates changes of administration in Central Asian republics and the creation of a single state, the Islamic Caliphate, on their territories. Russia and other CIS countries see this party as a terrorist organization but Hizb ut-Tahrir operates freely in the United States and Western Europe.