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Kyrgyz Special Services Expand International Co-Operation

Tuesday 8 November 2011

BISHKEK (Central Asia Online, Asker Sultanov) – Security problems in the Fergana Valley and in the region as a whole have motivated the State Committee for National Security (GKNB) of Kyrgyzstan to expand co-operation with its foreign partners, particularly in Central Asia. One change includes forging stronger ties with China.

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Kyrgyz State Committee for National Security special forces undergo counter-terrorism training in Bishkek’s suburbs in September. Kyrgyz special services are expanding their international partnerships against terrorism.

China and Kyrgyzstan agreed September 5 to co-operate on four issues: terrorism and extremism; drug trafficking; border security; and sharing of equipment and technology, according to a GKNB press release.

To co-operate against terrorism, the GKNB and the Chinese Ministry of Public Security will work within the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure of the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation (SCO), Keneshbek Dushebayev, chief of the Kyrgyz GKNB, told Central Asia Online. The two sides will also investigate terrorist crimes and fight drug trafficking together, as well as exchange intelligence.

China, this year, will donate equipment, such as computers and motor vehicles worth 21m KGS (US $450,000) to the GKNB as part of the deal, Dushebayev said. In 2012, more such equipment is expected, he said.

Kadyr Malikov, director of the Bishkek-based think tank Religion, Law and Politics, saidKyrgyz-Chinese intelligence co-operation can enter this new stage, given Kyrgyzstan’s ethnic riots in 2010 and the growing threat of terrorism.

“Our special services have co-operated previously with the Chinese, and this co-operation was constant, but it will increase qualitatively now,” he said. “There were armed clashes in the south last year; there was an extremely unstable situation in the republic in April; then Kazakhstan experienced terrorism for the first time. All this opened up new prospects for co-operation with China in fighting terrorism.”

China has an interest in stability in Kyrgyzstan and Central Asia, Malikov said.

International co-operation will produce better results

“Considering that terrorism and extremism threaten the security not only of the Kyrgyz Republic but international security as a whole, the GKNB is actively expanding its international links with foreign special services and law enforcement authorities,” Dushebayev said.

“The Chinese government is attentively following the security situation in our country and in the neighbouring republics,” he said. “China has an interest in our country as an energy supplier for its population, which is growing rapidly, […] therefore, it will try to co-operate in every way and help our special services to maintain security.”

The SCNS regularly exchanges information about its high-priority investigations and conducts joint operations, conferences and training sessions, Dushebayev continued, adding that the establishment of a counter-terrorism centre in Kyrgyzstan this year has improved international co-operation in fighting terrorism.

“The activities of ‘Jaishul Mahdi’ were discovered and stopped,” he said. “Forty-seven people belonging to terrorist organisations were also identified; and 18 members of international terrorist organisations and five members of religious extremist organisations were detained and prosecuted,” Dushebayev said.

Kyrgyz authorities have arrested 16 members of international terrorist organisations and killed two, he said, adding they detained seven members of such organisations and extradited five of them (three to Kazakhstan, one to China and one to Russia).

Such co-operation is vital because globalisation of terrorism is taking place, Malikov said.

“Small terrorist organisations could unite, become more active and destabilise our republic.” That problem could affect Kyrgyz neighbours too.

Kyrgyzstan’s stability improves

“The Kyrgyz Republic is presently reaching an important new stage,” Dushebayev said. “It is completing the transition from a super-presidential form of government to a parliamentary one, which began in April 2010. Now that the presidential election has ended, one may say that the transitional period is ending and a new page of the country’s history is opening.”

The Kyrgyz socio-political situation is stable, he said, although he acknowledged internal and external threats to that stability.

“The external factors […] include the activities of international terrorist and extremist organisations and separatist groups, as well as attempts by the previous (Bakiyev) regime to make a comeback, and the activities of external forces pursuing their own interests,” Dushebayev added.

The internal risks, he said, are “attempts by certain political and social activists to use regional, nationalist and religious rhetoric in the [presidential] campaign, and public discontent with current socio-economic problems.”

But extremism remains

“The dominance of religious extremism among the factors particularly threatening national and … regional security” has been noted in Kyrgyzstan recently, said Kolbai Musayev, deputy SCNS chairman.

Meanwhile, Dushebayev pointed to extremist propaganda, recruitment and the departure abroad of youth to study in suspicious madrassas as the main perils. For this reason, the special services remain vigilant and are boosting co-operation with their counterparts abroad, he said.

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