South Asia continued to experience violence in 2010, as terrorists expanded their operations and networks across the region and beyond. In response, the United States worked to increase counterterrorism cooperation with its partners in South Asia. Pakistan remained a critical front. Portions of Pakistani territory remained a safe haven for extremists, including high-level al-Qa’ida leaders. Groups such as the Taliban’s Quetta Shura and the Haqqani Network used western Pakistan to plan attacks against American interests in Afghanistan. Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) continued using Pakistan’s tribal belt to plan attacks against the Government of Pakistan and its citizens. Moreover, TTP diversified its target set by seeking to attack the U.S. directly, as demonstrated by its support for the attempted Times Square bombing in May 2010. In other parts of Pakistan, groups such as Lashkar-e-Tayyiba remained a threat to the stability of the region and beyond.
In 2010, Afghanistan experienced a more aggressive and active Taliban-led insurgency with support from affiliated extremist organizations such as the Haqqani Network and Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin. These groups increased their use of improvised explosive devices and coordinated attacks using multiple suicide bombers, particularly in the eastern and southern portions of the country, while their leadership remained hiding in their safe havens in Pakistan. Separately, ethnic tensions increased after the Afghan Parliamentary election resulted in Pashtun losses in several provinces.
India continued to be severely impacted by terrorism. Though there were no attacks on the scale of the 2008 Mumbai assault, India suffered a significant number of lower-level terrorist incidents. In response, India has sought not only to improve its own counterterrorism capabilities, but also to improve its coordination with the United States, the international community, and regional partners.
Bangladesh continued to increase its domestic capacity as well as its international and regional counterterrorism cooperation in 2010, working with its partners to increase information sharing and Bangladeshi capacity development. Bangladesh is becoming a positive regional example for its forward-leaning stance and willingness to cooperate both bilaterally and multilaterally.
Despite these successes, there was concern that South Asian nations were susceptible to being used as either transit points or operational hubs for terrorist groups to strike at their neighbors. Moreover, with a few exceptions, information sharing, operational coordination, and other cross-border cooperative efforts remained limited.
Regarding Central Asia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan experienced no terrorist attacks, Tajikistan’s Rasht Valley remained vulnerable to attacks, and Kyrgystan’s political turbulence made it vulnerable to ethnic unrest. As the chair of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Kazakhstan promoted tolerance through an international conference, although its neighbors used the threat of extremism to maintain restrictive laws on civil liberties, religious expression, and the press.
The Home and Interior Ministers of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) have met annually since 2006 to consider and implement measures against the “organization, instigation, financing, and facilitation” of terrorist activities. The June 2010 meeting in Islamabad reaffirmed the need to “extend cooperation to each other against terrorism while remaining within the purview of our national laws and procudres and our international commitments and following the principle of non-interference and non-intervention in each others’ affairs.”
Overview: During a year in which it conducted contentious Parliamentary elections and International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) troop numbers surged to over 131,000, Afghanistan continued to confront the challenges of building a stable, democratic government in the face of a sophisticated, multi-faceted insurgency that primarily relied on asymmetric tactics. The insurgency targeted coalition forces, the UN Assistance Mission to Afghanistan (UNAMA), international non-governmental organizations (NGOs), foreign diplomatic missions, Afghan civilians, and Afghan government officials and security forces.
Separate but intertwined and affiliated extremist organizations led by Mullah Omar (Taliban), Sirajuddin Haqqani (Haqqani Network), and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar (Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin) increased their use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and coordinated attacks using multiple suicide bombers, particularly in the eastern and southern portions of the country. As they did prior to the August 2009 presidential and provincial elections, Taliban militants and other insurgents made a concentrated effort to depress voter turnout during the September 2010 parliamentary elections. A variety of threats, attacks, and intimidation tactics were used to prevent Afghan citizens from voting. Pashtun parliamentary losses in several provinces increased electoral dissatisfaction and ethnic tension.
The Commander of U.S. Central Command maintained command and control of U.S. forces operating in Afghanistan. United States forces targeted insurgent leaders, facilitators, IED networks, the narcotics-insurgent nexus, and insurgent training and logistics centers with the objective of eliminating terrorists and facilitating reconstruction and development. The Afghan National Army (ANA), and to a lesser extent, the Afghan National Police (ANP), continued to lead in the majority of counterterrorism operations in close cooperation with coalition forces. The Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) continued to work in close partnership with ISAF to develop the capability necessary to assume the lead in security across Afghanistan and take a greater role in planning and execution operations. With support from the international civilian and military community, the ANSF exceeded their recruitment goals for 2010 with an end strength of approximately 150,000 ANA and 117,000 ANP. Notwithstanding the promising growth, key challenges remained: retention and attrition, officer and non-commissioned officer shortages, logistical shortfalls, poor literacy rates, and pay problems.
2010 Terrorist Incidents: IED attacks, direct and indirect fire, and suicide attacks increased in 2010. The increase in ISAF troop presence from 100,000 to 131,730 and their kinetic activities likely led insurgents to increase their activity. There was a 72 percent increase in total kinetic events, with IEDs representing 25 to 40 percent of this activity. According to ISAF, the total number of civilians killed in 2010 exceeded those in 2009, totaling more than 1,408; the vast majority of these deaths were caused by insurgent elements. The UN, which employed a different methodology, reported that, during the first 10 months of the year, more than 2,400 civilians were killed and 3,800 were injured; 76 percent of those casualties were caused by insurgents. The insurgents also continued their attacks on humanitarian workers, with almost 100 killed in 2010.
While insurgent activity occurred daily, high profile attacks included:
Legislation and Law Enforcement: The Governments of Afghanistan and the United States investigated a variety of criminal acts, including kidnappings, assassinations, contracting corruption fraud, and other crimes against military and security forces, NGOs, and civilians. U.S. government law enforcement bodies regularly passed actionable information to the Ministry of Interior and the National Directorate of Security and Afghan authorities who then took actions to disrupt, dismantle, and prosecute terrorist suspects based on the information. In 2010, the Afghan Attorney General office received 1170 national security threat cases for prosecution, passing 743 to the courts. The U.S. government often participated in prisoner interviews and debriefings with Afghan authorities of persons suspected of terrorist activity in Afghanistan and persons with connections to the United States.
The implementation of a widespread biometrics program was important to improving the law enforcement environment. Biometric enrollments of the Afghan population would significantly improve the security environment and reduce the ability of extremists and criminals to act anonymously and with impunity. The Afghan Ministry of Interior led the development of a biometrics program called “Afghan 1000,” which aimed to enroll 80 percent of the population by late 2012. The Afghan government also considered a National Security Detentions Law that would provide the government with a legal regime better suited to the investigation and prosecution of terrorist and insurgent cases.
Afghanistan continued to process travelers on entry and departure at Kabul international airport with the Personal Identification Secure Comparison and Evaluation System (PISCES). Afghan authorities reviewed plans for expanded PISCES installations at additional locations.
Countering Terrorist Finance: In 2004, Afghanistan passed two laws to formalize the combating of money laundering and terrorist financing, and established Afghanistan’s financial intelligence unit (FIU), the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Afghanistan (FinTRACA). FinTRACA was responsible for collecting “suspicious transaction reports” from banks, analyzing them, and disseminating financial intelligence from this analysis to Afghan law enforcement agencies. FinTRACA also worked closely with other global FIUs and in summer 2010 became a member of the Egmont Group of FIUs, which allowed it to share financial intelligence with, and request financial intelligence from, more than 100 Egmont-member FIUs around the world. Despite these increased efforts by the international community against funding flows, streams of Taliban financing from abroad, along with funds gained from narcotics trafficking and kidnapping, criminal enterprises, and taxing the local population, have allowed the insurgency to strengthen its military and technical capabilities. Narcotics trafficking in particular remained an important financing mechanism of terrorist/insurgent operations.
Regional and International Cooperation: The Government of Afghanistan continued to increase its international cooperation on counterterrorism. In November, Afghanistan joined over 60 countries and the World Customs Organization to partner in the on-going Project Global Shield (PGS), the goal of which is to monitor and curtail the illicit diversion of 14 explosive and drug precursor chemicals used for terrorist purposes. (PGS-targeted precursors were used in insurgent IED attacks targeting civilian, Afghan, and ISAF elements.) The August Summit in Sochi, Russia convened the Presidents of Afghanistan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Pakistan and included discussions of counterterrorism cooperation. The President of Afghanistan and the Prime Minister of Pakistan issued a joint statement after their September 15-16 meeting in Pakistan that recognized the need for close cooperation against terrorism and reaffirmed this commitment in their December 4 meeting in Kabul.
Countering Radicalization and Violent Extremism: The Afghan government supported counter-radicalization programs, mainly by engaging networks of supportive local and traditional leaders that promulgated a tolerant interpretation of Islam. The Ministry of Information, Culture, and Youth and the Ministry of Hajj and Religious Affairs have both convened numerous meetings at both local and national levels to encourage discussion and dialogue on religious issues, including radicalization. Lack of resources and capacity at the Ministry of Hajj and Religious Affairs, however, was a serious impediment to monitoring themes of Friday sermons across the country, and the Ministry lacked the capability to provide guidance to the many thousands of mullahs and imams in the country. The Ministry’s Islamic Sciences Research Center produced small books and brochures providing Islamic arguments against terrorism, suicide bombing, and radicalism for distribution throughout the country.
The United States assisted the Afghan government to develop programs to counter radicalization in prisons, as internal prison networks have a great deal of influence on active external terrorist networks. The separation of prisoners who constitute national security threats from common criminals was necessary to prevent insurgent recruitment within prisons.
Overview: The Awami League-led government has been committed to combating domestic and transnational terrorist groups since coming into power in January 2009. Bangladesh continued improving its counterterrorism cooperation with its international partners in 2010. The Bangladesh government's ongoing counterterrorism efforts have denied space to and prevented the unfettered operation of transnational terrorists seeking to establish safe havens in Bangladesh. Denying terrorist groups freedom of movement, increased counterterrorism policing, and other law enforcement efforts have hindered terrorist groups from using Bangladesh as a base of operations or transit point from which to attack the country’s neighbors.
In October, Bangladesh law enforcement arrested several individuals alleged to have ties to extremist groups including Lashkar-e Tayyiba (LeT) and Harakat ul-Jihad-i-Islami/ Bangladesh (HUJI-B).
Legislation and Law Enforcement: The government passed the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2009 and was in the process of fully implementing the law, including Bangladesh's first counterterrorist finance provisions, during 2010. The government has made numerous well-publicized seizures and arrests of persons alleged to be associated with terrorist organizations including HUJI-B, LeT, Jama’at-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh, and Hizb-ut Towhid. Few convictions appeared to have resulted from those arrests, however, as the judiciary has continued to work slowly on cases involving terrorism due to a lack of prosecutorial capacity and requisite legal provisions.
Countering Terrorist Finance: The Government of Bangladesh passed new anti-money laundering and counterterrorist finance laws in 2009. In 2010, the government was in the process of implementing these provisions, and examining further areas for legislative improvements to the Money Laundering Prevention Act and the Anti-Terrorism Act, actions that reflected Bangladesh’s receptivity to international peer review mechanisms and the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) International Cooperation Review Group process. In November, the government established the National Coordinating Committee, comprised of all agencies dealing with the anti-money laundering/countering terrorist finance issue, to provide operational level coordination and to develop a national strategy.
Bangladesh is a member of the Asia/Pacific Group against Money Laundering, a FATF-style regional body, and hosted the annual conference in Dhaka. During the typologies conference, the FATF and/or FATF style regional body member countries exchanged information on significant money laundering and terrorist financing cases and operations, and discussed effective countermeasures. Additionally, the Bangladesh Bank (the national bank) and its Financial Intelligence Unit/Anti-Money Laundering Section led the government's effort to comply with the international sanctions regime.
Regional and International Cooperation: U.S. and Bangladeshi law enforcement agencies cooperated well on several cases related to domestic and international terrorism. Bangladesh cooperated with the United States and other international partners to further strengthen control of its borders and land, sea, and air ports of entry. Moreover, the Bangladeshis increased their cooperation with their regional neighbors, most notably with India with whom they increased information sharing, prisoner exchanges, and law enforcement cooperation.
Countering Radicalization and Violent Extremism: The Bangladesh Ministry of Religious Affairs, the Ministry’s Islamic Foundation Bangladesh, and USAID have cooperated on Bangladesh’s Leaders of Influence (LOI) project. LOI is a four-year old program begun in 2007, designed to enhance the capacity of religious and secular leaders to contribute to national development and democratic reform efforts. In so doing, LOI set out to preserve and promote values of democracy, tolerance, diversity, social harmony, and understanding in Bangladeshi society. Under this program, at least 20,000 community leaders, including at least 10,000 Imams, will have received training and hands-on orientation to programs including democracy and governance, gender equality, health, nutrition, family planning, HIV/AIDS, employment generation, and disaster management. The basic assumption underpinning the program has been that the knowledge of different development aspects, gained through training and exposure, will help these leaders increase tolerance and decrease extremism and opportunities for terrorists to recruit new adherents.
Overview: In 2010, India continued to see a reduction in the number of deaths attributable to terrorist violence, as it ramped up its counterterrorism capacity building efforts and increased cooperation with the international community, especially the United States. However, the loss of nearly 1,900 lives (civilian, security forces, and terrorists) still made India one of the world’s most terrorism-afflicted countries. Sustained violence in Kashmir over a six-month period and attempted infiltrations from Pakistan across the Line of Control remained serious concerns for the Indian government. In May, an Indian court convicted and sentenced to death the lone surviving attacker of the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks. A February bombing in Pune killed 17, and a December improvised explosive device (IED) explosion in Varanasi killed two people. The perpetrators for both attacks remained at large at the end of the year.
The Maoists/Naxalites, whom Prime Minister Singh has called India’s greatest internal security threat, were active in 2010, especially in the eastern part of the country. They increasingly directed their attacks at Indian security forces but also used IEDs to blow up railways and other infrastructure projects. Indian security forces successfully ensured security at a number of major events, including the 2010 Hockey World Cup and the 2010 Commonwealth Games, without incident. Throughout 2010, Indian authorities arrested numerous suspected militants, uncovered several arms caches, continued to develop a new internal security force, implemented improved border security measures mainly along the Pakistani border, and tightened laws to counter terrorist financing. In July, the U.S.-India Counterterrorism Cooperation Initiative was signed, which set the stage for greater cooperation on counterterrorism issues between the two governments.
2010 Terrorist Incidents: On November 22, the Government of India reported that at least 577 civilians had been killed, while more than 260 Special Forces personnel had also lost their lives across the country due to Naxalite violence in 2010. During that same period, at least 137 members of the Communist Party of India (CPI)-Maoist (aka the Naxalites) were killed. Between February 7 and February 9, the CPI-Maoist called a three-day strike. Railway tracks were blown up, railway stations attacked, bombs were placed on railway property, and railway officials were assaulted. Terrorist attacks in 2010 included:
Legislation and Law Enforcement: In January, a Delhi court sentenced two Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT) militants to seven years of imprisonment for possession of the explosive RDX in connection with a conspiracy to carry out a suicide attack at the Indian Military Academy in 2005. In May, the Special Sessions Court in Mumbai sentenced to death the lone surviving LeT militant involved in the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks, Mohammad Ajmal Amir Kasab.
Throughout the year, India worked to improve its counterterrorism readiness. The Ministry of Home Affairs Annual Report 2009-2010 stated that in response to the November 26, 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks, Quick Reaction Teams have been set up in four regional hubs (Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, and Hyderabad) with 1,086 trained personnel and an additional team on standby at the Delhi airport, ready to deploy during an emergency.
The Indian government continued erecting fences along its borders with Bangladesh and Pakistan.
Countering Terrorist Finance: The on-site visit for India’s Financial Action Task Force (FATF) mutual evaluation concluded in December 2009, and the report was adopted by the FATF plenary in June 2010. At the FATF plenary, the FATF also granted India full membership. India presented a detailed action plan covering the period June 2010 to March 2012 to better meet FATF’s anti-money laundering/countering terrorist finance standards. FATF concluded that as of October 2010, India was on track with its action plan. India’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) is a member of the Egmont Group and regularly shared information with foreign FIUs over the Egmont Secure Web on terrorist financing cases.
Regional and International Cooperation: On July 23, the India-U.S. Counterterrorism Cooperation Initiative was signed. This initiative allows for greater information-sharing, and the sharing of best practices in the areas of investigations, forensic science, countering terrorist finance, cyber security, mass transit and rail security, port and border security, and maritime security.
During his November visit to India, President Obama and Indian Prime Minister Singh announced the establishment of the U.S.-India Homeland Security Dialogue (HSD). The Indian Ministry of Home Affairs and the United States Department of Homeland Security will co-lead the HSD, which will provide a forum for sustained U.S.-India engagement on homeland security issues to facilitate security cooperation.
During the December 2010 visit of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, France and India agreed to enhance their operational cooperation to accelerate the process of extradition requests, combat money laundering for terrorism, and enforce international sanctions regime against terrorist organizations. Both countries reinforced the importance of adhering to sanctions against al-Qa’ida and the Taliban as established by UNSCR 1267.
Countering Radicalization and Violent Extremism: Countering extremist ideology has become an important part of India’s counterterrorism strategy. The Ministry of Home Affairs continued its Surrender-cum-Rehabilitation policy, which encouraged misguided youths and militants to surrender, while offering to provide them rehabilitation and assistance in transitioning back into the population. On February 7, Chief Minister of Assam Tarun Gogoi informed Chief Ministers gathered for the Conference on Internal Security that 14,913 militants had surrendered in Assam since 1991. In November, the Manipur State government stated that 128 youth who belonged to a communist party had successfully completed a 90-day behavioral, spiritual, and technical training program allowing them to be placed in reputable companies like the TATA Group, LG, and Hitachi.
Overview: Kazakhstan continued to combat domestic and international terrorism and took tangible steps to improve cooperation and information sharing with various countries and international organizations. Although no terrorist incidents occurred in 2010, the Kazakhstani government designated 16 organizations as "terrorist and extremist" groups. The government, acting principally through government-sponsored civil society organizations and state-controlled media, has labeled certain non-violent religious minority groups extremist, though it has not taken action to ban them. Kazakhstani authorities strengthened domestic counterterrorism efforts through reinforced legislation and prosecution of suspected terrorists, and expanded its participation in international and regional counterterrorism partnerships and activities.
Kazakhstan's National Security Committee and Ministries of the Interior, Defense, and Emergency Situations collaborated to strengthen border security, and conducted an increased number of counterterrorism training exercises prior to the December 1-2 OSCE Summit. Kazakhstan also completed its plan for the construction of a Material Protection, Control, and Accountability (MPC&A) training center, to be built with support from the U.S. Department of Energy at the Institute of Nuclear Physics near Almaty. In October, Kazakhstan reiterated its intent to establish an additional "Center to Combat the Illegal Use of Nuclear Materials" in Kurchatov to train Kazakhstani rapid response units to combat nuclear terrorism.
Legislation and Law Enforcement: The Kazakhstan government prosecuted suspected terrorists cases, including:
Countering Terrorist Finance: Since 2004, Kazakhstan has been a member of the Eurasian Group (EAG) on combating money laundering and terrorist financing, a Financial Action Task Force-style regional body. As part of a significant effort to enhance the government's ability to combat possible terrorist financing, Kazakhstan adopted a law "On Combating Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism" in March. The law created a strengthened financial monitoring system with the authority to observe and freeze suspicious financial activities. The government has repeatedly stated that it fully implements all its obligations under UNSCRs 1267 and 1373. The EAG began a mutual evaluation of Kazakhstan’s anti-money laundering/countering terrorist finance regime in October 2010.
Regional and International Cooperation: In December, Kazakhstan joined other Commonwealth of Independent States countries in concluding a package of treaties, which included a commitment to develop a cooperative counterterrorism program for 2011-2013. As Chairman-in-Office of the OSCE in 2010, Kazakhstan hosted an October 14-15 international OSCE Conference on Preventing Terrorism. In September, the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism's (GICNT) held its Inaugural Implementation and Assessment Group Meeting and a Conference on Countering the Financing of Nuclear Terrorism in Kazakhstan. In April, Kazakhstan's President Nazarbayev signed into law the Shanghai Cooperation Organization agreement on joint counterterrorism exercises. Kazakhstan also hosted the Shanghai Cooperation Organization's September "Peace Mission 2010" counterterrorism military exercise. In June, Kazakhstan actively participated in the Collective Security Treaty Organization's joint counterterrorism exercise.
Countering Radicalization and Violent Extremism: Kazakhstan actively promoted intercultural and religious dialogue at the international level. In particular, Kazakhstan hosted in Astana the June OSCE Conference on Tolerance and Non-Discrimination. In June, Kazakhstan's President Nazarbayev proposed the establishment of a Tolerance and Non-Discrimination Center in Central Asia. As 2010 Chairman-in-Office of the OSCE, Kazakhstan also advocated strongly for the establishment of an OSCE high commissioner for inter-ethnic and inter-religious tolerance to counteract violent extremism. During the October OSCE Conference on Preventing Terrorism, Kazakhstan's Ambassador-at-Large in charge of OSCE issues, Madina Zharbussynova, responded favorably to a U.S. proposal to help organize an OSCE conference to support the role that women play in countering violent extremism in Central Asia and Afghanistan. However, on the national level the government has generally restricted such dialogue to those religious groups considered “traditional,” such as the government-backed Spiritual Association of Muslims of Kazakhstan, the Russian Orthodox Church, the Jewish community, and the Roman Catholic Church.
In October, Kazakhstan hosted the World Forum of Spiritual Culture, which brought together high-ranking leaders from various countries and world religions to foster inter-faith dialogue and collectively condemn violent extremism. In recognition of President Nazarbayev's active role in promoting global interfaith dialogue, the East West Institute awarded President Nazarbayev its 2010 Peace and Preventative Diplomacy Award. However, as noted in the State Department’s Annual Report on International Religious Freedom, the government continued to restrict Muslim religious groups not affiliated with the government-recognized Spiritual Association of Muslims of Kazakhstan and minority religions seen as “nontraditional.”
Overview: 2010 was a turbulent year for Kyrgyzstan, with the collapse of the government in April and inter-ethnic clashes in June, which resulted in the deaths of hundreds in the southern cities of Osh and Jalalabad. The Provisional Government successfully organized a Constitutional Referendum in June and Parliamentary elections in October. Following the elections, a new government was formed in December. In spite of the changes in leadership and political system, terrorism remained an important issue for the Government of Kyrgyzstan.
2010 Terrorist Incidents:
Legislation and Law Enforcement: Following the December terrorist attacks, Kyrgyzstan’s security forces arrested a number of terrorist suspects. By year’s end, however, none of the suspects were charged with any crimes. The Kyrgyzstan government has significantly expanded the number of uniformed police on the street and increased the number of ID checks of individuals. Due to the events in April and the subsequent dissolution of Parliament, Kyrgyzstan did not pass any new counterterrorism legislation.
Countering Terrorist Finance: Kyrgyzstan is a member of the Eurasian Group (EAG) on Combating Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism, a Financial Action Task Force (FATF)-style regional body. In November, the EAG Secretariat noted that Kyrgyzstan was partially compliant with eight and non-compliant with eight of the FATF’s 16 core anti-money laundering/countering terrorist finance recommendations. It noted that the Kyrgyz Republic had achieved major progress in relation to the financial recommendations since December 2009. The Financial Intelligence Unit of Kyrgyzstan is a member of the Egmont Group. In 2010, Kyrgyzstan did not freeze any terrorist assets, including those called for by UNSCRs 1267 and 1373.
Regional and International Cooperation: As a member state of both organizations, Kyrgyzstan participated in activities of the Collective Security Treaty Organization of the Commonwealth of Independent States and activities of the OSCE.
Overview: No terrorist incidents occurred in the Maldives in 2010, although there was growing concern about the activities of local violent extremists and their involvement with transnational terrorist groups. There was particular concern about the possibility of young Maldivians joining violent extremist groups in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the Middle East and returning to the Maldives to radicalize their peers and establish violent extremist groups.
The Vice President of the Maldives has publically voiced concerns about young Maldivians being recruited by militant groups in Pakistan and Afghanistan. In February, the government estimated there were 200-300 unregistered Maldivian students in Pakistan. There was an increasing trend, though a relatively small one, of Maldivians joining terrorist organizations, including those with ties to Lashkar-e-Tayyiba. Examples of Maldivians with known terrorist ties included the nine Maldivians arrested by Pakistani authorities for involvement with violent extremist groups in the Waziristan region in March 2009, who were subsequently transferred to the Maldives in 2010 and released. In addition, two of the 2007 Sultan Park bombers incarcerated at Maafushi Prison had their sentences changed from incarceration to three year suspended sentences and were released in August 2010. The Sultan Park bombing was the first recorded terrorist bombing in the Maldives, and resulted in injury to 12 foreign nationals.
Because of concerns about radicalization and extremist ideologies, the government continued to control all religious matters, including religious affiliation, expression, education, and worship. According to government officials, the purpose of this tight control was to maintain a moderate Islamic environment rather than an extremist one.
Legislation and Law Enforcement: The Maldives Police Services led a stakeholder group in drafting a counterterrorism bill, with assistance from INTERPOL and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime. The bill was in the Attorney General's office for review at year’s end.
In December, the Immigration Department began installing a new border control system for the airport with biometric capacity and an integrated database.
Countering Terrorist Finance: The Government of Maldives recognized the need for legislation to enhance its ability to prosecute in cases of anti-money laundering/countering terrorist finance (AML/CTF) and fulfillment of UNSCRs. Existing legislation in the Maldives did not criminalize money laundering, apart from a small provision in the Drugs Act. The Maldives Financial Intelligence Unit has taken the lead in drafting an AML/CTF act with IMF assistance. In July, the draft bill was sent to the Attorney General's Office. In November, the Maldives Monetary Authority published for public comment a draft of the Maldives Financial Transactions Reporting regulation. The draft regulation aims to prevent the use of the financial system for money laundering and terrorist financing.
Regional and International Cooperation: The United States and the international community provided counterterrorism training to Maldivian security forces and sponsored Maldivian officials and security force personnel for regional conferences on combating violent extremism.
Countering Radicalization and Violent Extremism: The Ministry of Islamic Affairs ran a religiously-based counter-radicalization program aimed at rehabilitating prisoners jailed for violent extremism-related incidents. The Minister of Islamic Affairs has written books against extremism and brought mainstream scholars from other countries to talk to Muslims in the Maldives.
Overview: Nepal experienced no acts of terrorism during the past year, though the government's limited ability to control the open border with India was of concern, since terrorist groups have used Nepal as a transit point into India. The increased presence of Nepali security services in the southern Terai region led to a decrease in violence there, but the security situation remained problematic, particularly in central and eastern Terai. The United Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (UCPN-Maoist), designated as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist by the U.S. government under Executive Order 13224, became a partner in the coalition government. The group has not forsworn violence nor has it taken several of the other steps required for delisting, that is it has not renounced violence and terrorism, its youth group has not abandoned violence and reformed, nor has it fully demonstrated a commitment to the peace process by complying with Nepali courts investigating emblematic human rights cases.
Legislation and Law Enforcement: Nepal improved its security monitoring capabilities at official border crossings along the southern border with India and at Kathmandu's Tribhuvan International Airport, while also increasing the Armed Police Force and Nepal Police presence at several crossings along the southern border. Violence in the southern Terai plains decreased due to increased deployment of both the Armed Police Force and the Nepal Police throughout the Terai along with a renewed working relationship with Indian security forces. The government’s Special Security Plan, created in July 2009, sought to bridge a gap between the Nepal Police, Armed Police Force, and local communities through promotion of better working relationships, but has fallen short in building sustained public confidence.
Countering Terrorist Finance: Nepal was not a regional financial nexus, and there were no indications that the country was used as a major international money laundering center in 2010. However, government corruption, poorly regulated trade, weak financial sector regulation, and a large informal economy made the country vulnerable to money laundering and terrorist financing. The major sources of laundered proceeds stemmed from tax evasion, corruption, counterfeit currency, smuggling, and invoice manipulation. The Financial Information Unit within the Nepal Rastra Bank (Nepal’s Central Bank) continued to investigate money laundering and terrorist financing; however, its efforts were limited by a lack of technical capabilities and government support. Terrorist financing legislation was drafted, and at year’s end, the Cabinet was reviewing it before sending it to the legislature. Nepal is a member of the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering, a Financial Action Task Force-style regional body. The Government of Nepal has the authority to freeze suspected terrorist assets and has implemented UNSCR 1373. There was one arrest and conviction for money laundering in 2010.
Regional and International Cooperation: Nepal hosted the U.S.-sponsored "South Asia Conference on the Use of Financial Sanctions in Countering Violent Extremism," which brought together government officials from every country in South Asia to discuss the issues involved with financial sanctions and the importance of maintaining and respecting those sanctions once imposed.
Overview: In 2010, Pakistan continued to experience high levels of terrorism and Pakistan-based terrorist organizations continued to threaten internal, regional, and global security. Violence resulted from both political and sectarian conflicts throughout the country, with terrorist incidents occurring in every province. While government authorities arrested many alleged perpetrators of terrorist violence, few convictions resulted. The Pakistani military continued to conduct operations in areas with known terrorist activity but was unable to expand its operations to all areas of concern. Increased sectarian violence between the Sunni and Shia communities and against religious minority communities also resulted in numerous attacks with high casualties. These attacks continued the trend of employing suicide bombers and remotely detonated explosives to perpetrate violence. Attacks using similar methods were also carried out against government and police facilities.
Pakistan, particularly the Federally Administered Tribal Areas region and the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, continued to be used as a base for terrorist organizations operating in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and Pakistani security forces undertook substantial efforts to counter these threats. These organizations recruited, trained, and conducted fundraising for terrorist operations in Pakistan, and used Pakistan as a transit point for cross border movement to Afghanistan and abroad. Pakistan's Frontier Corps and military initiated large-scale counterinsurgency operations in Mohmand, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Orakzai, and added one battalion in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Pakistan's ability to continue robust operations was negatively impacted by the need to divert resources to provide relief from the 2010 floods, which caused severe, long-term damage in Pakistan. The ability to establish and maintain security in densely populated urban areas or areas with a historically poor security presence also remained a major challenge for Pakistan.
When Pakistan conducted operations to eliminate safe havens in the country, it often lacked the capability to ensure these areas remained under the control of Pakistan's security agencies. Given its inability to pursue the complete elimination of the terrorist presence and fully eliminate terrorist safe havens, Pakistan utilized a strategy to conduct limited operations to "contain" terrorist operatives in known areas of activity. Pakistan's civilian government and military departments cooperated and collaborated with U.S. efforts to identify and counter terrorist activity in Pakistan, and the United States continued to engage Pakistan to ensure it had the will and capacity to confront all extremist elements within its borders.
2010 Terrorist Incidents: The coordination, sophistication, and frequency of suicide and other bombings continued unabated in 2010. Pakistan experienced hundreds of bomb blasts, suicide attacks, and sectarian violence, resulting in more than 2,000 dead and scores more injured. Known terrorist organizations such as Tehrik-e-Taliban (the "Pakistani" Taliban) and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi claimed responsibility for a number of attacks. The Afghan Taliban, Lashkar-e-Tayyiba and al-Qa’ida also have a significant presence in Pakistan and maintained the capability to plan, influence, and assist violent extremist organizations within Pakistan and regionally. 2010 Terrorist Incidents carried out against civil society, religious groups, and government and police officials and offices during 2010 included:
Legislation and Law Enforcement: While Pakistan's law enforcement community continued to pledge to prosecute those responsible for terrorist acts inside Pakistan, a 2010 review by the United States of Pakistan's Anti-Terrorism Court rulings revealed that Pakistan remained plagued an acquittal rate of approximately 75 percent. The review, in conjunction with information provided by Pakistani law enforcement partners, painted a picture of a legal system almost incapable of prosecuting suspected terrorists. The review determined that the accused in numerous high-profile terrorism incidents involving U.S. victims had all been acquitted by the Pakistani legal system.
The Anti-Terrorism Bill 2010, proposed on July 28, 2010, remained before Pakistan's parliament. It proposes 25 amendments to Pakistan's original anti-terrorism legislation, the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1997, including provisions that broaden the definition of terrorism, expand the authority of law enforcement agencies investigating terrorist incidents, authorize detention of subjects for 90 days before presenting them before a court, and allow increased electronic surveillance and wiretapping.
The U.S. Department of Justice continued to offer assistance to the Government of Pakistan to improve its existing counterterrorism laws. Under the U.S.-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue, Secretary of State Clinton and Pakistan's Foreign Minister Qureshi launched the Law Enforcement and Counterterrorism working group as a platform to discuss ways to increase cooperation. The U.S. Embassy in Islamabad has also implemented a diverse law enforcement training program for federal, provincial, and local law enforcement that included training in crime scene investigation, post blast investigations, and training specifically for counterterrorism personnel and bomb disposal units.
U.S. officials continued to monitor court proceedings involving high-profile terrorist attacks, such as the cases involving seven Pakistanis currently on trial for the 2008 Mumbai attack that killed 166 people, including six Americans; and the three Pakistanis on trial for assisting Faisal Shahzad with the attempted May 1, 2010 bombing of Times Square. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has assisted with the respective prosecutions.
Pakistan continued to process travelers on entry and departure at 13 international airports, five land border sites, four seaports, and two train stations with the Personal Identification Secure Comparison and Evaluation System (PISCES).
Countering Terrorist Finance: Pakistan strengthened its counterterrorist finance regime and committed to making additional improvements. Pakistan's terrorist financing law is ambiguous on key points, however, and the country’s implementation of UNSCR 1267 was incomplete.
The informal financial sector continued to play a significant role in Pakistan's legal and illicit economies, but the government has taken substantial steps to curb the role of informal financial service providers in servicing remittances. Through the Pakistan Remittance Initiative, the government has steadily increased the volume of remittances coming through authorized channels during the past three years, improved Pakistan's balance of payments, and enhanced financial transparency. The government has also prosecuted unregistered, illegal money remitters. During the past year, Pakistan took a substantial step toward strengthening its anti-money laundering/countering terrorist finance (AML/CTF) regime. In March, the parliament passed the Anti-Money Laundering Act, which replaced a temporary ordinance and solidified the Financial Monitoring Unit's standing as a national center for the collection and dissemination of suspicious transaction reports related to money laundering and terrorist financing. Pakistan also strengthened financial regulations, in particular the requirements to conduct due diligence and maintain internal controls.
As an active participant in the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering, Pakistan has been under review by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) because of deficiencies in its AML/CTF regime. In June, the Finance Minister committed Pakistan to an FATF action plan, which outlined a series of steps the government will take to remedy these deficiencies.
Despite progress, deficiencies in Pakistan's AML/CTF regime remained. Notably, the criminalization of the financing of terrorist acts committed against foreign governments and international organizations was ambiguous, as was the criminalization of financing groups that have not been explicitly banned by the government or designated by the UN. Although Pakistan did not make substantial progress toward removing the ambiguity in the law this year, the Government of Pakistan committed to doing so in its FATF action plan.
Another significant concern was Pakistan's weak implementation of UNSCR 1267. UN-designated terrorist organizations were able to skirt sanctions simply by reconstituting themselves under different names. They made little effort to hide their connections to the old groups and gained access to the financial system using new names.
Regional and International Cooperation: Pakistan continued to cooperate in regional and international counterterrorism forums. However, India-Pakistan counterterrorism cooperation was lacking in 2010.
Significant cooperation was documented during the latter part of 2010 in support for Project Global Shield, a World Customs Organization (WCO) Counter Improvised Explosive Device (IED) Project seeking to identify the global movement of precursor chemicals (some dual use) that are used in the manufacture of IEDs. A multi-country conference held at the WCO Headquarters in Brussels in October, launched this project, which commenced on November 1.
As a follow up to the launch of Project Global Shield, the Pakistan Federal Board of Revenue (Customs) and UN Office of Drugs and Crime organized a training conference in Karachi, Pakistan in December, which provided training to customs officers and anti-narcotics officers in the identification and safe handling of precursor chemicals as well as training in the targeting of container shipments that might have inappropriately declared their contents.
In January, the foreign ministers of Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran agreed on a roadmap to confront jointly the challenges of violent extremism and terrorism facing the region by signing the Islamabad Declaration, which was described as a guide to stability, security, and development in the region through mutual cooperation. Pakistani Foreign Minister Qureshi said the three sides agreed to confront the common challenges of illicit weapons and drug money through a comprehensive approach. The three nations also agreed to look into the possibilities of developing regional approaches to these challenges.
Countering Radicalization and Violent Extremism: The Government of Pakistan has realized that counter-radicalization through non-military means is a critical component to long-term success against violent extremism, and has initiated certain counter-radicalization efforts in 2010. As part of these efforts, the Ministry of Culture announced plans to set up a TV channel focusing on culture and traditions of the country with the objective of countering violent extremism. The channel reportedly will cover various aspects of Pakistani culture and traditions including folk music, the theatre industry, regional dialects and traditions, archaeological sites, and the history of the region and other areas, according to the Federal Ministry of Culture.
A school in Malakand, run by the Pakistani army, continued to rehabilitate Taliban-influenced youth. The UN Children's Fund-funded school, originally opened in September 2009, provided free religious education and psychiatric counseling to 85 students from Swat, a district heavily influenced by terrorist groups. The students were 13 to 18 years old and few had finished secondary school. The project is the first of its kind in Pakistan.
On July 28, President Asif Ali Zardari called approximately 30 Islamic scholars and representatives of minority communities to his official residence to discuss minority rights and interfaith harmony in the country. The Ministry of Minorities Affairs established interfaith committees at the district level to meet monthly to address issues of religious tolerance and interfaith dialogue.
Overview: In 2009, the Government of Sri Lanka announced formally the defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization. While there were no terrorist incidents within Sri Lanka in 2010, there were continuing concerns that the LTTE's international network of financial support might still be functioning; therefore, most counterterrorism activities undertaken by the Sri Lankan government were targeted at countering terrorist finance.
Legislation and Law Enforcement: Legislative efforts were focused on limiting financial support for the remnants of LTTE. Domestically, there was a large budgetary allocation (about four percent of Sri Lanka’s GDP) for defense and monitoring of Tamil diaspora activity in coordination with foreign governments. The United States provided training for relevant Sri Lankan government agencies and the banking sector in combating the provision of financial support to the LTTE remnants. The Sri Lankan government implemented the Container Security Initiative and the Megaports program at the Port of Colombo.
Countering Terrorist Finance: In February, Sri Lanka provided a high-level written commitment to work with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to implement the following corrective measures: (1) adequately criminalizing money laundering and terrorist financing; and (2) establishing and implementing adequate procedures to identify and freeze terrorist assets. The government was drafting amendments to the 2005-2006 laws on money laundering and terrorist financing, in accordance with FATF recommendations, at year’s end.
Regional and International Cooperation: In October, the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) of Sri Lanka signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the FIU of Bangladesh to share financial information to facilitate the investigation and prosecution of persons suspected of money laundering and terrorist financing. Sri Lanka has already signed MOUs with the Philippines, Nepal, Cambodia, Malaysia, Afghanistan, South Korea, and Indonesia.
Countering Radicalization and Violent Extremism: In order to address lingering resentment in areas that were formerly held by LTTE combatants, the Sri Lankan government was working to restore civil administration, resettle Internally Displaced Persons, provide immediate infrastructure development, encourage private sector participation, and promote the development of industries.
Overview: Severe weaknesses were exposed in Tajikistan’s counterterrorism strategy and its ability to conduct effective counterterrorism operations. Events in the Rasht Valley demonstrated that Tajikistan was vulnerable to an organized insurgency by well-trained and motivated terrorists, both foreign and domestic. The inability of the Government of Tajikistan to police its border with Afghanistan and deal decisively with attacks against government forces emboldened its domestic and foreign enemies. Terrorists, criminals, and fighters of varied allegiances effectively exploited Tajikistan’s mountainous terrain and domestic political rivalries.
Tajikistan’s counterterrorism policies were focused mainly on controlling Islam in society and increasing the capacity of Tajikistan’s military and law enforcement community to conduct tactical operations. The latter was undertaken with support from bilateral assistance programs with the international community. While the government maintained a list of banned groups it considers "extremist", the list included several religious groups – including Jehovah's Witnesses; Tablighi Jamaat, an Islamic missionary organization; and the Salafiya sect – that the government banned despite a lack of any evidence that members engaged in violent extremist activities.
2010 Terrorist Incidents: On September 22, 23 soldiers were killed when militants in the Kamarob Valley (an opposition stronghold just outside of Gharm in the Rasht Valley) ambushed a military convoy. The Ministry of Defense reported that former opposition commanders Mullo Abdullo Rahimov and Ali Bedaki Davlatov led the attack with a contingent of foreign and Tajik fighters that had slipped into Tajikistan from Afghanistan.
On September 3, a Vehicle Born Improvised Implosive Device (VBIED) detonated on the compound of the Regional Department for Combating Organized Crime (UBOP) in the northern city of Khujand, killing two officers and injuring 26 others as they gathered for morning formation. This was the first VBIED attack in Tajikistan since at least the end of the civil war. According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the VBIED was detonated by a suicide bomber with possible links to the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU). The previously unknown group “Jamatt Ansarullah in Tajikistan” later claimed responsibility. Many speculated that the attack was an act of revenge against UBOP by a local group for the alleged death of a young man in its custody. The driver was reportedly the deceased man’s brother. UBOP is notorious for its abusive interrogation methods. Government security operations in the northern Sughd region against suspected IMU members continued throughout the year.
Legislation and Law Enforcement: The Government of Tajikistan used counterterrorism statutes to suppress legitimate political opposition and dissent as well as to prosecute terrorists. Unfortunately, the judicial system in Tajikistan was also plagued by endemic corruption.
An August 23 prison break by suspected insurgents from the Rasht Valley resulted in the death of six police officers and sparked a months-long manhunt. As 2010 drew to a close, more than half of the prisoners had been recaptured or killed. Some were recaptured in Afghanistan with the assistance of Afghan security forces.
Effectively policing the rugged and remote Tajik/Afghan border is a daunting task and the Government of Tajikistan has made progress in improving border security by leveraging bilateral assistance.
Countering Terrorist Finance: Terrorist financing and money laundering were illegal, but existing laws were not comprehensive and did not meet international standards. Despite pressure from the international community, Tajikistan has not taken action to modernize its money laundering criminal code.
Regional and International Cooperation: In September, Tajikistan participated in regional counterterrorism exercises with Shanghai Cooperation Organization partner nations.
Countering Radicalization and Violent Extremism: Many of the government's measures to counter extremism and radicalization restricted religious freedom. Various initiatives have been undertaken, such as banning the hijab in schools and a recent draft law prohibiting minors from attending mosques. Rather than specifically addressing radicalization and violent extremism, the government sought to marginalize Islam as a whole. Critics claimed that heavy-handed government tactics actually contributed to radicalization rather than deterred it.
Overview: Turkmenistan adopted new counterterrorism legislation and continued its efforts to improve border security, including training for law enforcement officials. Turkmenistan's border guards, customs service, and law enforcement agencies lacked adequate personnel and remained in need of further training.
Legislation and Law Enforcement: Turkmenistan adopted a revised Criminal Code that went into effect on July 1, 2010. The new Code specifies punishment for terrorism and terrorist financing. Punishment for terrorism ranges from five to 20 years in prison, depending on the seriousness of the terrorist act. Punishment for terrorist financing ranges from four to 15 years in prison and confiscation of property, with the length of the sentence determined by the seriousness of the crime, whether it was premeditated and whether the offender was a government official who misused his position in committing the crime.
The Government of Turkmenistan is in the process of improving its border crossing checkpoints. In 2010, the government purchased modern equipment to enhance detection capacity and renovated checkpoints on the Uzbek and Kazakh borders. In addition, the U.S. government provided new radio equipment to the State Border Service that, together with new trucks provided by the Turkmen government, will improve communications in border areas.
Countering Terrorist Finance: In January, Turkmenistan established a Financial Intelligence Unit under the Ministry of Finance to strengthen the government's efforts to combat money laundering/counterterrorist finance (AML/CTF). In June, Turkmenistan became a full member of the Eurasian Group, a regional AML/CTF organization and part of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). That month, the FATF placed Turkmenistan on the Improving Global AML/CTF Compliance On-Going Process List stating that while it had demonstrated progress in improving its AML/CTF regime, there remained certain strategic deficiencies that needed to be addressed. Turkmenistan indicated it will implement an action plan to address these deficiencies.
Regional and International Cooperation: Turkmenistan participated in regional and international training programs to bolster its border security. As part of the Border Operations Management Program in Central Asia (BOMCA), the Turkmenistan State Border Service and State Counternarcotics Service sent officers to attend regional training in Tashkent and Almaty on dog handling techniques to search for drugs and explosives. Turkmenistan Migration Service, Customs Service, and Border Service officers participated in BOMCA training programs on integrated border management for the Ashgabat airport and Turkmenbashy seaport. In May, Turkmen officials participated in NATO’s Advanced Training Course designed to teach the latest counterterrorism methods and strategies. Turkmenistan is a partner nation in the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism.
Overview: Despite continued instability in several neighboring countries, and the continued involvement of ethnic Uzbeks and Uzbek nationals in terrorist incidents in other countries, including Afghanistan and Pakistan, no terrorist incidents took place within Uzbekistan. The Government of Uzbekistan continued to exercise tight control over its security situation, convicting an unknown number of people with alleged terrorist ties. As in the past, a lack of reliable information made it difficult to analyze the extent of the terrorist threat in Uzbekistan. It was possible that Uzbekistan security forces neutralized terrorist threats without bringing them to the attention of the press or the international community. It was also well-documented that the government treated many non-violent minority religious groups, such as Nur, Akromiya, and Tablighi Jamaat, as extremist groups that were banned or treated as banned organizations.
Legislation and Law Enforcement: Law enforcement officials continued to arrest, prosecute, and convict an unknown number of people under charges of extremism. It was unclear how many of these defendants would be considered terrorists, as the Government of Uzbekistan has targeted several religious groups that international observers considered to be nonviolent.
On August 14, Uzbek police exchanged fire with four armed men, allegedly religious extremists, near a village in the Tashkent Region. Limited reports on the event stated that one of the armed men was wounded and arrested, while the others escaped.
According to independent media reports, up to 83 people were convicted of charges ranging from anti-constitutional activity to membership in extremist groups and “inciting ethnic and religious animosity” in closed trials during February and March 2010. The trials were allegedly related to several terrorist incidents that took place in 2009, including the assassinations of Khasan Asadov, head of the Uzbek Interior Ministry’s directorate for counterterrorism; and Abror Abrorov, the Deputy Director of Kukeldash Madrassah; the attempted murder of Anvar-kori Tursunov, the principal Imam of Tashkent; and a shoot-out that took place in Tashkent in late August 2009. Uzbekistan sought the extradition of 30 Uzbek asylum seekers from detention in Kazakhstan, whose government stated that Uzbekistan provided strong evidence that the asylum seekers had links to terrorist organizations. By year’s end, in full consultation with UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), UNHCR mandate refugee status was revoked from the detainees and one of the 30 had been extradited to Uzbekistan. A second was released. Uzbekistan continued to seek the extradition of the remaining 28. At year’s end the extradition was pending.
Countering Terrorist Finance: Uzbekistan is a member of the Eurasian Group against Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (EAG). After passing anti-money laundering legislation in 2009, the Government of Uzbekistan did not pass any new legislation or take any new measures against terrorist finance in 2010. The government did not report any efforts to seize terrorist assets. Although terrorist financing was not a significant problem in Uzbekistan, a large and robust black market functioned outside the confines of the official financial system. The unofficial, unmonitored cash-based market created an opportunity for small-scale terrorist money laundering.
Regional and International Cooperation: The Government of Uzbekistan continued to cooperate bilaterally with other foreign governments and multilaterally with several international organizations on general security issues, including border control. In December, the UN Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate and the OSCE jointly sponsored a conference in Tashkent that focused on countering violent extremism in Central Asia.
Countering Radicalization and Violent Extremism: The Government of Uzbekistan continued to label minority religious groups and Muslim groups operating outside the parameters of State control as extremists. State-controlled media frequently ran programs designed to denigrate terrorist and extremist propaganda, including “documentaries” about extremist groups aired on state-run television, news stories, and opinion columns about the dangers of extremism in state-run newspapers, and public confessions and apologies by alleged extremists who claimed to have seen the error of their ways. However, non-violent religious minorities, including Nur, the Bahais and evangelical Protestants, have been branded as extremists and as threats to society in these "documentaries" and articles.