Baku, Azerbaijan, June 25
Azerbaijan maintained its strong counterterrorism cooperation with the US, said the US Department of State Country Reports on Terrorism 2014.
The country actively opposed terrorist organizations that were seeking to move people, money, and material through the Caucasus, according to the report.
"The country remained focused on its counterterrorism efforts, to include prosecuting numerous individuals under statutes related to terrorism, confiscating sizeable quantities of illegal arms and munitions, and seeking to arrest foreign terrorist fighters returning to Azerbaijan from conflicts abroad," the report said.
The report also highlighted that Azerbaijan amended its law on terrorism to stiffen penalties for involvement in foreign mercenary activity.
The report said Azerbaijan indicated its willingness to counter the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) by continuing to share information and working to disrupt the flow of foreign terrorist fighters to Iraq and Syria and of the illicit funding aimed at supporting the violent extremist groups there.
It was also noted in the report that the influential figures, including the heads of the Caucasus Muslim Board and the State Committee for Work with Religious Associations, undertook efforts to counter ISIL ideology publicly.
The report said Azerbaijan's National Security Ministry is primarily responsible for combating terrorism, adding that the Internal Affairs Ministry also plays role as the country's primary law enforcement entity.
"Both ministries effectively demonstrated the ability to detect and deter terrorist activities, as well as prosecute foreign terrorist fighters returning to Azerbaijan," according to the report.
"Authorities demonstrated a capability to effectively use watch lists and biographic/biometric information at ports of entry," said the report.
The report also included a chronology of the significant law enforcement actions taken in Azerbaijan in 2014 with regard to counterterrorism:
- On June 20, the Ministry of National Security announced that it had detained 18 violent extremists in Baku's Badamdar neighborhood. Authorities stated the individuals were becoming radicalized and showing indications of carrying out violent activity and potentially traveling to Syria.
- On September 23, the Ministry of National Security announced that it had arrested 26 individuals who had fought as foreign terrorist fighters outside Azerbaijan, many as ISIL-affiliated terrorists in Syria and Iraq.
- On December 1, authorities carried out a counterterrorism operation following an attack on a Baku mosque, one of the perpetrators of which was alleged to have fought with a Kurdish militia against ISIL in Syria.
Edited by CN