2015-06-26 10:16:00

Tajik leader brands IS 'plague of the century'

Dushanbe, June 26, Interfax - Tajikistan's President Emomali Rahmon has branded Islamic State 'the plague of the century' and has said that hundreds of Tajik citizens have already joined this terrorist organization, which poses a threat to the security of Tajikistan and Central Asia as a whole.

"The growing influence of this terrorist organization, so-called Islamic State, in Syria and Iraq, the goal of its militants to seize new regions of these countries, the ruthless murder of thousands of Muslims, the destruction of cultural heritage, as well as the strengthening of radical ideologies in some neighboring states, including Afghanistan, are the main factors that cause our concern in the current situation," Rahmon said at a meeting with Tajik Agrarian University students in Dushanbe on Friday.

"This dangerous phenomenon is spreading to different regions and countries of the world, and, acting as 'the plague of the century', is posing a real threat to the security of the region, individual states and the international community as a whole," the Tajik leader said.

Rahmon repeated information published earlier that more than 400 Tajik citizens are fighting alongside IS militants today. They include 18 students, 11 of whom studied in Tajikistan and the other seven abroad, he added.

"There is not a single nation in the world that can forgive betrayal. Those who joined IS betrayed both their Motherland, their parents and the Hanafi mazhab [a movement in Islam]," the president said.

The most high-profile instance of a CIS citizen joining IS was Col. Gulmurod Khalimov, a former commander of Tajikistan's OMON riot police, who disappeared from the republic in late May and then resurfaced in Syria.