Situation in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan could destabilize
Azerbaijan, Baku, April 27 / Trend V.Zhavoronkova /
The German Eurasian Transition Group believes the instability of the regimes in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan could expose these countries to destabilization backed by extremist groups.
"The unstable regimes in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan might be a target for civil unrest, supported by these extremistic groups," Michael Laubsch, who heads the NGO, wrote Trend in an e-mail.
The U.S. State Department warned citizens about the danger "of terrorist attacks and civil unrest in Uzbekistan" on Monday.
The statement reads that the government is continuing to receive information that shows terrorist groups could be planning attacks against U.S. interests in Uzbekistan. Among the groups mentioned in the release are the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, al-Qaida, the Islamic Jihad Union, and the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement. The groups have expressed anti-American sentiments and already attacked U.S. government interests.
"The Uzbek authorities have taken aggressive security measures to prevent such attacks at official facilities. However, militants could go after easier targets such as residential areas, restaurants and hotels," the document reads. American citizens encouraged "to report to local authorities and the U.S. Embassy in Tashkent on any suspicious activity."
Laubsch said such warnings are not baseless.
"The fact that extremistic groups like Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and others returned to the country for activities might be possible," he said.
He added that this is easy to do in Tajikistan where the situation is getting worse.
"The regimes in Tashkent and Dushanbe are more unstable than in Kazakhstan or Turkmenistan," he added.
"In addition, the extremist groups now somehow feel supported by the events in Northern Africa and Middle East. That's why they now changed their strategy, not only fighting in countries like Afghanistan or Pakistan, but also in Central Asia," he added.
"So it is probably wise to warn US citizens, but again, this possible threat is especially in Uzbekistan in present more or less theoretical and I see no signs that this might happen within the next weeks," Laubsch said.