US Department of State notes Azerbaijan's successes in fighting terror

Politics Materials 29 April 2006 14:35 (UTC +04:00)

The US Department of State published a Country Reports on Terrorism 2005, Trend reports.

Since 2001, Azerbaijan has aggressively apprehended and tried members of suspected terrorist groups and closed Islamic organizations operating in Azerbaijan that are suspected of supporting terrorist groups, the document reads.

According to report, Azerbaijan has taken steps to combat terrorist financing and identified possible terrorist-related funding by distributing lists of suspected terrorist groups and individuals to local banks. In 2003, the government established an inter-ministerial experts group responsible for drafting anti-money laundering and counterterrorist finance legislation. In December, an experts group, led by the National Bank of Azerbaijan, finalized its proposed anti-money laundering legislation to include establishment of a Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) and expansion of the predicate crimes for money laundering beyond narcotics trafficking.

In February, the Azerbaijani Court of Grave Offenses convicted a group of six men that called themselves "al-Qaida Caucasus" for planning terrorist attacks in Baku. The group was found with TNT, hand grenades, other armaments, and propaganda materials; it attempted to recruit female suicide bombers. Members of the group received sentences ranging from three to 14 years. In July, the Azerbaijani Ministry of National Security arrested a group of armed Islamic extremists and confiscated a large quantity of explosives, chemicals, and plans for the production of explosive devices. In December, the government extradited two members of the Kongra-Gel/PKK to Turkey.

The document stressed that Azerbaijan served as a conduit for individuals with ties to terrorist organizations seeking to move men, money, and material throughout the region. Accordingly, Azerbaijan stepped up its interdiction efforts and had some success reducing terrorist transit. Azerbaijan granted blanket overflight clearance, engaged in information sharing and law enforcement cooperation, and approved numerous landings and refueling operations at its civilian airport in support of U.S. military operations in Afghanistan. Since August 2003, Azerbaijan has supported the Coalition effort in Iraq with an infantry company of 151 soldiers stationed at the Haditha dam. Since November 2002, a platoon of Azerbaijani soldiers has worked with the Turkish peacekeeping contingent in Afghanistan.