Chapter 2. Country Reports: South and Central Asia Overview
The al-Qa'ida (AQ) core was significantly degraded by the death of Usama bin Ladin and other key terrorist operatives in 2011. However, AQ remains a threat, and it has looked to consolidate power by forging closer ties with other terrorist organizations in the region – for example Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and the Haqqani Network (HQN). These alliances have at times provided the group with additional resources and capabilities.
Despite increased pressure on al-Qa'ida leadership in the tribal areas of Pakistan, violent extremist groups continued to find refuge within that country. Terrorist organizations such as the Afghan Taliban, Lashkar e-Tayyiba (LeT), and HQN plotted regional attacks while groups such as TTP struck Pakistan-based targets. The Pakistani military took action against violent extremist groups such as AQ and TTP and suffered numerous casualties. However, Pakistani action was not as strong against other groups, including HQN and LeT.
Afghanistan has experienced more aggressive and coordinated attacks by the Taliban, HQN, and other AQ-affiliated insurgent elements in anticipation of the 2014 withdrawal of Coalition forces. More than 50 terrorist attacks were reported in Kabul from January to November 2011, and additional attacks were thwarted by Afghan and Coalition Forces. The number of improvised explosive devices (IED) and resultant casualties increased in 2011 compared to 2010.
Most casualties in Afghanistan are caused by IEDs, which will continue to represent a significant risk to Coalition Forces, the Afghan military and police force, as well as the civilian population, which is most vulnerable to this threat.
A majority of the IEDs used in Afghanistan are constructed from materials, such as calcium ammonium nitrate (CAN) fertilizer and potassium chlorate, which are licitly manufactured in Pakistan. The Government of Afghanistan banned the use, transportation, and import of CAN in 2011. Additionally, the Government of Pakistan adopted a National Counter-IED Strategy in June 2011. Pakistan also seized illegal shipments of CAN and took some measures to restrict the illicit flow of CAN and other IED precursors into Afghanistan.
Although the level of terrorist violence was lower than in previous years, India experienced a number of serious terrorist incidents. The Government of India, in response, increased its own counterterrorism capabilities and expanded its cooperation and coordination with the international community and regional partners, including the United States, with which it launched a new Homeland Security Dialogue.
Bangladesh, an influential partner in the region, cooperated with U.S. law enforcement agencies on several cases related to domestic and international terrorism. The government's ongoing counterterrorism efforts have made it more difficult for transnational terrorists to operate in Bangladeshi territory. In addition, Bangladesh and India improved and expanded their bilateral counterterrorism cooperation.
A number of violent incidents in Central Asia appeared to be the work of terrorists, including several in Kazakhstan in which law enforcement officers were killed. Concerns persisted about the potential threat to the region posed by terrorist elements based in Afghanistan and parts of Pakistan with ties to Central Asia. Governments faced the challenge of responding to such threats effectively while respecting human rights, including civil and political rights and freedom of religion.
Overview: While the U.S. mission in Afghanistan is transitioning primary security responsibility to Afghan National Security Forces, the United States plans to remain politically, diplomatically, and economically engaged in Afghanistan as a strategic partner for the long term. The United States fully supports the ambitious agenda set out by Afghan president Hamid Karzai, which focuses on democracy, reintegration, economic development, improving relations with Afghanistan's regional partners, and steadily increasing the security responsibilities of Afghan security forces.
In 2011, the United States and others in the international community provided resources and expertise to Afghanistan in a variety of areas, including democratic institution building, humanitarian relief and assistance, capacity building, security needs, counter-narcotic programs, and infrastructure projects.
The Government of Afghanistan's response to the September 20 assassination of former President Professor Burhanuddin Rabbani, Head of the High Peace Council, is likely to have had an impact on the ability of terrorists to attack or operate successfully. After this event, the Government of Afghanistan improved security procedures for senior Afghan officials and high-level interactions, including turban searches and increased Presidential Palace security.
2011 Terrorist Incidents: Major population centers across Afghanistan saw coordinated, complex suicide attacks against Coalition forces, and international and Afghan government facilities. Hotels and other venues frequented by Westerners were also targeted. Numerous high-profile Afghan Government officials were assassinated in 2011, specifically in Kabul City and Kandahar. The Taliban, HQN, and other insurgent elements demonstrated their ability to adapt to security procedures and plan attacks accordingly. In keeping with past patterns, the greater number of attacks took place over the summer months, with a steady decline as the winter season approached. Helmand and Kandahar remained the most dangerous provinces for Coalition forces.
High profile attacks that occurred in 2011 included:
- On February 19, multiple suicide bombers attacked the Kabul Bank in Jalalabad City in Nangarhar Province, resulting in nine Afghan National Security Forces killed, 26 civilians killed, and another 70 injured.
- On May 30, insurgents conducted two suicide attacks against the Provincial Reconstruction Team and city center in Herat City. Four people were killed and at least 37 were wounded.
- On June 28, 11 individuals were killed when seven suicide bombers attacked the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul.
- On July 27, Kandahar City Mayor Ghulam Haider Hamidi was assassinated outside his office by a lone suicide bomber with a turban-borne IED.
- On August 19, the Taliban conducted a suicide attack against the British Council office in Kabul, killing 12.
- On September 13, HQN attacked the U.S. embassy and International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) compounds. Four Afghan civilians and a South African national working for the Kabul Embassy Security Force were injured on the embassy compound. Insurgents engaged the compounds with small arms fire and rocket propelled grenades from a building under construction approximately 900 meters east of the chancery building.
- On September 20, a lone suicide bomber killed the head of the High Peace Council and former Afghan President Burhanuddin Rabbani in his home in Kabul City.
- On September 25, a member of the Afghan National Guard – employed at the U.S. Embassy Annex – opened fire on the Annex compound and killed one U.S. citizen employee.
- On October 27, four insurgents attacked Camp Nathan Smith in Kandahar City ( Provincial Reconstruction Team Compound), resulting in two local nationals killed and 15 U.S. service members wounded.
- On December 6, terrorists conducted bombings in Kabul, Mazar-e Sharif, and Kandahar on the Shia holy day of Ashura. The combined death toll in these attacks was estimated to be 80, while over 160 more were injured.
Legislation and Law Enforcement: As a result of the year-long Parliament impasse due to disputed election results, Parliament did not pass any counterterrorism legislation in 2011. From December 18 to 21, the Afghan government hosted a workshop focused on final drafts of a modern Criminal Procedure Code and an improved Law on the Structure and Jurisdiction of the Attorney General's Office. If enacted, these reforms will codify the structure and funding of the existing Anti-Terrorism Protection Directorate in the Attorney General's Office and permit the investigation and prosecution of terrorist and national security cases using internationally-accepted methods and evidentiary rules.
Afghanistan continued to process travelers on entry and departure at major points of entry with the Personal Identification Secure Comparison and Evaluation System (PISCES). With support from the United States, Afghan authorities have expanded PISCES installations at additional locations. Afghanistan remained a critical partner nation in the Department of State's Antiterrorism Assistance program, which began to shift its focus from the Presidential Protective Service to the Afghan government's Detachment 10 security organization, to build broader self-sustaining capacities to protect national leadership and government facilities.
The Governments of Afghanistan and the United States investigated a variety of criminal acts, including kidnappings, assassinations, contracting corruption and fraud, and other crimes against military and security forces, non-governmental organizations, 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 and dismantle terrorist operations and prosecute terrorist suspects. In 2011, the Attorney General's Office investigated a total of 2,087 cases of crimes such as armed looting, taking hostages, kidnapping, treason, and membership in violent extremist armed groups, and aiding and abetting them. Of these cases, 1,427 related to provinces and 660 to Kabul. By year's end, 1,269 persons were arrested in these cases.
A number of incidents involving terrorist acts directed at U.S. citizens and facilities in 2011 were investigated by Afghan authorities.
Countering Terrorist Finance: The Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG), the Financial Action Task Force-style regional body to which Afghanistan belongs, released a report in June from its first assessment of Afghanistan. The report identified a number of areas that the government needs to address to bring Afghanistan in compliance with international standards. The Government of Afghanistan worked with the APG to develop an action plan. Terrorist financing investigations in Afghanistan were hampered by a lack of capacity, awareness, and political commitment, particularly involving prosecutors and the courts. Another finding from the APG's mutual evaluation indicated that although there were over 1,600 non-profit organizations (NPOs) registered and active in Afghanistan, no cases have been brought before the courts. According to Afghan law enforcement agencies, there have been documented instances of NPOs being used to finance terrorism. The Ministry of Economy, the primary oversight body of the NPO sector in Afghanistan, lacked sufficient resources to conduct its functions effectively.
For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, we refer you to the 2011 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.
Regional and International Cooperation: Afghanistan consistently emphasized the need to strengthen joint cooperation to fight terrorism and extremism in a variety of bilateral and multilateral fora, including the Afghanistan-Pakistan Joint Commission for Peace, the U.S.-Afghanistan-Pakistan Core Group Trilateral, the September Afghanistan-Russia-Tajikistan-Pakistan quadrilateral summit, the November Istanbul Conference, and the November South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation Summit. At the November Istanbul Conference, Afghanistan was the key driver for launching the “Istanbul Process,” a regional framework that includes specific counterterrorism-related confidence-building measures. Afghanistan also co-chaired the December Bonn Conference, which brought together 100 delegations and over 1,000 delegates to call for results-oriented regional cooperation to counter terrorism. In September, the Project Global Shield (PGS) partnership focused on monitoring and curtailing the illicit diversion of 14 precursor chemicals used in the production of IEDs and reported an expansion from 60 to 71 participant countries to include the World Customs Organization and 11 international law enforcement organizations. The PGS-targeted precursors were used in insurgent IED attacks targeting civilian, Afghan, and ISAF elements in Afghanistan.
Afghanistan also continued to work with its NATO-ISAF partners as well as its regional neighbors to improve training, capacity, and counterterrorism collaboration, for example, pursuing strategic partnership agreements with a number of countries that would provide for security cooperation to counter terrorism. Afghanistan supported the United Nations General Assembly Resolution establishing the UN Centre for Counterterrorism as part of the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force.
Countering Radicalization and Violent Extremism: Afghanistan has implemented a number of programs to address violent extremism and has focused on religious engagement programs. The majority of Afghan mosques and madrassas operate outside of government oversight and some transmit extremist ideology. The Ministry of Education and Ministry of Hajj and Religious Affairs have both undertaken projects to register all mosques and madrassas in Afghanistan, with limited success. President Karzai has directed the Afghan National Security Council to expand oversight of unregistered madrassas. The Government of Afghanistan planned to establish an inter-agency working group to address the issue.
The Government of Afghanistan established the Afghanistan Peace and Reintegration Program (APRP), which targeted low and mid-level insurgents for reintegration back to their communities provided they renounce violence, abandon their alliance with al-Qa'ida, and abide by all provisions of the Afghan constitution, which includes respect for women's and minority rights. APRP worked on designing a comprehensive one-month disengagement training curriculum to counter common misperceptions among ex-combatants through a series of basic citizenship lessons, dispute/grievance resolution training, and general Islamic studies .
Overview: Since coming into power in January 2009, the Awami League-led government has remained strongly committed to combating domestic and transnational terrorist groups. The government's counterterrorism efforts made it harder for transnational terrorists to operate in or establish safe havens in Bangladesh. Bangladesh and India improved their bilateral counterterrorism cooperation in 2011.
Legislation and Law Enforcement: The government passed the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2009 and is in the process of fully implementing the law, which included Bangladesh's first counterterrorist finance provisions. The government has made numerous well-publicized seizures and arrests of persons alleged to be associated with terrorist organizations including Harakat ul-Jihad-i-Islami, Harakat ul-Jihad-i-Islami/Bangladesh, Jamaat-ul Mujahideen Bangladesh , Hizb Ut Towhid, and Lashkar e-Tayyiba, but few convictions resulted from those arrests. The judiciary moved slowly in processing terrorism and other criminal cases in general. Bangladesh cooperated with the United States to further strengthen control of its borders and land, sea, and air ports of entry. Bangladesh continued to be a good partner in the Department of State's Antiterrorism Assistance program.
Countering Terrorist Finance: Bangladesh is a member of the Asia/Pacific Group (APG) on Money Laundering, a Financial Action Task Force (FATF)-style regional body. The Bangladesh Bank (the central bank) and its Financial Intelligence Unit/Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Section lead the government's effort to comply with the international sanctions regime. In 2011, the Government of Bangladesh acted to address further areas for legislative improvements in response to international peer review and the FATF International Cooperation Review Group process. During the week of June 19, the Bangladesh Cabinet approved in principle the draft AML law. At a subsequent meeting on July 11, the Cabinet approved, in principle, the draft Counterterrorist Finance (CTF) law. Both steps were an effort to improve the existing AML/CTF regime and bring Bangladesh into further compliance with FATF international financial crimes standards. Following these Cabinet actions, the Bangladesh government worked with international partners to seek additional improvements in order to address remaining areas of concern regarding Bangladesh's efforts to meet international standards. In November, the Cabinet gave final approval to the AML law.
For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, we refer you to the 2011 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.
Countering Radicalization and Violent Extremism: The Bangladesh Ministry of Religious Affairs, the Islamic Foundation, and USAID cooperated on Bangladesh's Leaders of Influence (LOI) project. LOI, a four-year program that ended in 2011, was 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 leaders, including approximately 10,000 imams, received training in programs that included democracy and governance, gender equality, health, nutrition, family planning, HIV/AIDS, employment generation, and disaster management. While not CVE-specific, the basic assumption underpinning the LOI program was that knowledge of different issues gained through training and exposure would help leaders of influence increase tolerance. USAID and Embassy Dhaka, in cooperation with the Bangladesh Ministry of Interior, successfully continued to implement the Community Policing Initiative, which was designed to improve police-civilian relations and reduce the appeal of extremist groups in two major provinces.
Overview: In 2011, India increased its counterterrorism capacity building efforts and cooperation with the international community, including the United States. Two important exchanges took place between the Indian and U.S. governments – the U.S.-India Counterterrorism Joint Working Group meetings in March and the launch of the U.S.-India Homeland Security Dialogue in May. To deter threats from terrorist groups such as Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT), the Homeland Security Dialogue in May – led by the U.S. secretary for homeland security and the Indian home minister – focused on ways to cooperate on a broad basis to exchange information and best practices with a view toward preventing attacks in both countries.
While the number of deaths attributable to terrorist violence was lower than in 2010, the loss of over 1,000 lives (civilian, security forces, and terrorists) still made India one of the world's most terrorism-afflicted countries and one of the most persistently targeted countries by transnational terrorist groups such as LeT. Terrorist strikes during 2011 in Mumbai and Delhi, as well as Maoist/Naxalite violence in other parts of the country, further underscored the fact that India is a target for terrorist attacks. The Maoists/Naxalites, whom Prime Minister Singh has called India's greatest internal security threat, continued to be active, especially in the eastern part of the country. Indians living in Naxalite areas were often caught between the demands of both the Maoists and the security forces. Sporadic violence in Kashmir and attempted infiltrations from Pakistani territory across the Line of Control (the border along Jammu and Kashmir) also remained serious concerns for the Indian government. The trade talks with Pakistan provided hope for reduced tensions between the two countries, but terrorist opponents of better Indian-Pakistan relations, such as the LeT, have long planned to derail any progress by launching new attacks.
2011 Terrorist Incidents: The Government of India reported a marked decline in the number of violent civilian and security force deaths by insurgents in the northeastern part of the country. There were also far fewer violent incidents in Jammu and Kashmir. Maoist/Naxalite violence also declined. Through November 2011, there were over 1,550 incidents involving Naxalites that resulted in over 500 deaths as compared to 2010, when 2,006 incidents involving Naxalites resulted in over 93 deaths.
Significant terrorist attacks included:
- On July 13, three serial bomb blasts in the span of 10 minutes ripped through three of the busiest hubs in Mumbai – Zaveri Bazar, Opera House, and Dadar – killing 17 people and injuring 131 others.
- On September 7, at least 12 people were killed and approximately 91 others injured in a powerful blast outside the Delhi High Court.
- On November 30, a suspected separatist bomber was killed when an explosive device he was carrying to plant at a festival in Manipur exploded, just days ahead of Prime Minister Singh's visit there. Authorities reported that two persons were injured.
- On October 12, a suspected terrorist plot was foiled in Ambala, Haryana, with the recovery of over five kilogram explosives and detonators from a car parked outside the city's Cantonment railway station.
Legislation and Law Enforcement: As part of the strategy to increase border security, the Ministry of Home Affairs Department of Border Management is building fences and roads and installing floodlights along the Indo-Pakistan and Indo-Bangladesh borders.
Throughout 2011, Indian authorities arrested many suspected terrorists. In February, the Bombay High Court upheld the death sentence imposed by the trial court on Mohammad Ajmal Amir Kasab, the lone surviving Pakistani gunman of the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks, who had previously confessed his involvement. In October, the Supreme Court temporarily stayed his execution to obtain the amicus curiae opinion (a brief from a “friend of the court”) from a court-appointed advisor. In addition to the assistance already provided in the investigation, the United States provided Indian authorities extensive access to convicted terrorist David Headley to assist them with their prosecutions of other Mumbai suspects.
In August, the Supreme Court upheld the death sentence imposed on LeT member Mohammad Arif, aka Ashfaq, for the December 2000 attack at the Red Fort, in which three army personnel were killed. Also in August, a trial court in Mumbai convicted and sentenced two persons to ten years' imprisonment for carrying out an explosion and planting explosives in theaters in different cities of Maharashtra in 2008.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) continued its initiatives to strengthen the national security apparatus and meet the challenges posed by international terrorism. The Cabinet Committee on Security gave approval in principle to establish the National Intelligence Grid, a platform for information-sharing between law enforcement, intelligence services, and other government agencies. The government established a new National Investigative Agency (NIA) branch office in Assam, one of the states in the northeast. MHA also completed the design and development core software for the Crime and Criminal Tracking and Network System, bringing the system for tracking criminal records one step closer to operational status. India continued to participate in the Department of State's Antiterrorism Assistance program.
Countering Terrorist Finance: India is a member of both the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering, a FATF-style regional body. In December, the NIA developed a Terror Funding Template and circulated it to law enforcement officials throughout the country to assist in gathering information on the sources of terrorist funding when interviewing terrorist suspects. For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, we refer you to the 2011 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.
Regional and International Cooperation: India is a founding member of the Global Counterterrorism Forum and was active on international counterterrorism issues in its capacity as a non-permanent member of the United Nations (UN) Security Council and as Chair of the UN Counter-Terrorism Committee.
The Indian and Bangladeshi governments signed the India-Bangladesh Coordinated Border Management Plan in July, which aims to synergize the efforts of both countries' border security forces for more effective control over cross-border illegal activities. India also signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Combating International Terrorism with the Maldives and a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty in Criminal Matters with Indonesia. During the 17th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation summit held in November in the Maldives, India and Pakistan had constructive discussions, with Islamabad assuring New Delhi that the terrorists behind the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks would be brought to justice soon.
Countering Radicalization and Violent Extremism: India's counter radicalization and violent extremism efforts are mostly directed by state and local authorities; under the Indian Constitution police and public order issues are state functions. The Indian government has programs that attempt to rehabilitate and integrate various groups, mostly insurgents, back into the mainstream of society, such as the “Scheme for Surrender cum-Rehabilitation of militants in North East.” While not a counter radicalization scheme per se, it is directed at disaffected members of Indian society who support separatist and at times violent movements.
Overview: In the wake of violent incidents reportedly linked to religious extremists, Kazakhstan intensified its efforts to counter violent extremism and took tangible steps to improve cooperation and information sharing with various countries and international organizations. In late September, President Nazarbayev signed a package of amendments on “religious activities” that tightened government control over religious organizations. While ostensibly aimed at countering violent religious extremism, the amendments severely restricted the peaceful practice of religion in Kazakhstan. Commentators linked negative reaction to the new amendments to the law on religion with violent acts committed in October and November. All attacks appeared to have been directed at representatives of the state's security organs, including the police, the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD), and the Committee for National Security (KNB). We refer you to the Department of State's Annual Report to Congress on International Religious Freedom ( http://www.state.gov/j/drl/irf/rpt/index.htm ) for further information.
2011 Terrorist Incidents: Incidents with potential links to terrorism included:
- On May 17, a man blew himself up at the KNB regional headquarters in Aktobe. The police revised its initial pronouncement that the suspect was simply a criminal and later claimed that he and his wife were members of an extremist group.
- On July 1, gunmen fired at a police post in the village of Shubarshy, located in the center of the Aktobe region, and killed two policemen. Although multiple local media outlets reported that the criminals were members of a radical Islamist movement, the MVD dismissed the group's connection to extremism, and maintained that their motives were purely criminal.
- On July 2, one Special Forces officer was killed and three wounded during a police action to detain additional suspects in the Shubarshy shooting. On July 9, in the Kenkiyak village, police killed nine armed men suspected in the Shubarshy incident, while one Special Forces officer was killed. Police arrested two more suspects on July 11.
- On October 31, two explosions took place, possibly targeting official buildings in Atyrau. An explosive device detonated in a trash can behind the regional governor's office. Shortly thereafter, another explosion occurred in a vacant lot surrounded by apartment buildings, 40-50 meters away from the regional procurator's office. The man who allegedly made the explosive device was the only casualty.
- The Kazakh Procurator General's Office claims that members of a terrorist group called Jund al-Khilafah (Soldiers of the Caliphate, JAK) were responsible for the October 31 bombings in Atyrau. JAK allegedly is a militant organization formed by three Kazakh nationals. On October 24, the group threatened the Kazakhstani government and demanded the immediate repeal of the amendments to the religion law. Publicly claiming responsibility for the October 31 explosions in Atyrau, JAK emphasized that the suspected bomber accidentally detonated the bomb, which had not been intended to cause casualties. On November 30, the spokesperson of the Kazakh Procurator General's Office declared JAK a terrorist organization and prohibited its activities on the territory of Kazakhstan.
Legislation and Law Enforcement: On November 30, President Nazarbayev signed amendments to several legislative acts related to countering organized criminal, terrorist, and extremist activities. The new versions of these laws provide stricter punishments for terrorism- and violent extremism-related crimes.
Kazakh authorities made numerous arrests on terrorism-related charges:
- A July 11-16 operation, in connection with May explosions in Aktobe and Astana and July attacks in Shubarshy, led to the arrest of over 200 suspects.
- On September 23, the Aktau regional procurator announced the arrest of 29 persons on the suspicion of planning terrorist acts in Kazakhstan.
On December 3, police killed five alleged terrorists in Boralday of the Almaty region. According to the Kazakh Procurator General's Office, the group murdered two policemen in Almaty on November 3 and intended to conduct additional operations. The heavily-armed group resisted the police and killed two officers of the Arystan Special Forces unit of the KNB during the operation. Erik Ayazbayev, the alleged leader of this group, was killed December 29 in Kyzylorda after resisting arrest and firing at police.
Kazakhstan continued to participate in the Department of State's Antiterrorism Assistance program.
Countering Terrorist Finance: Kazakhstan is a member of the Eurasian Group on combating money laundering and financing of terrorism (EAG), a Financial Action Task Force-style regional body. As part of a significant effort to enhance the government's ability to counter possible terrorist financing, Kazakhstan adopted a law “On Combating Money-Laundering and Financing of Terrorism” in March. EAG's mutual evaluation report of Kazakhstan's anti-money laundering/countering terrorist finance (AML/CTF) regime was adopted in June. The report indicated the necessity to further improve legislation in order to harmonize it with international standards. In July, Kazakhstan's Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) joined the Egmont Group, expanding its ability to informally exchange information related to terrorist financing and money-laundering crimes with other FIUs. Kazakhstani agencies were working on the national risk assessment on AML/CTF to determine priority areas that they should target to strengthen the regime.
For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, we refer you to the 2011 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.
Regional and International Cooperation: Kazakhstan, having served as the 2010 Chairman-in-office of the Organization for Security Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), continued to play an active role in the OSCE's activities to counter transnational threats, including hosting a regional workshop on the implementation of United Nations (UN) Security Council Resolution 1540.
On April 19, Kazakhstan ratified an agreement to participate in counterterrorism training programs for Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member states. Security Council Secretaries of the SCO countries and the heads of the SCO's counterterrorism body met in Astana on April 29 to discuss ways to ensure security and stability. On November 30, a group of Central Asian states, including Kazakhstan, approved the Central Asia implementation plan for the UN global counterterrorism strategy.
Overview: Kyrgyz security forces conducted continual special operations against alleged terrorist organizations throughout the year, and captured individuals possessing explosive devices and extremist literature. The Kyrgyz government was involved in numerous international cooperative counterterrorism efforts, and Kyrgyzstan also continued its participatition in the Department of State's Antiterrorism Assistance program.
2011 Terrorist Incidents: In October, a man who reportedly had hijacked a bus was killed by Kyrgyz police at a checkpoint in the south of the country while allegedly resisting arrest. According to the head of the State Committee for National Security, the dead man was a citizen of Tajikistan and a member of a terrorist cell operating in the Kyrgyz Republic.
Legislation and Law Enforcement: In 2011 Kyrgyzstan brought its Law on Terrorism into conformity with the new Constitution. The State Committee on National Security (GKNB) claimed to have eliminated the group Jamat Kyrgyzstan Jaish al-Mahdi, which conducted several small-scale attacks in late 2010. The GKNB killed two members of the group, arrested 10, and said that three members were still at large. In October 2011, Kyrgyz security forces seized 90 kilos of ammoniates and special compounds for explosive devices and extremist literature from two citizens in Naryn connected to an alleged violent extremist organization. In November, security forces seized homemade explosives and weapons in Uzgen from an individual allegedly connected to an international terrorist group.
Countering Terrorist Finance: Kyrgyzstan is a member of the Eurasian Group on combating money laundering and financing of terrorism, a Financial Action Task Force-style regional body. Its Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) belongs to the Egmont Group of FIUs. For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, we refer you to the 2011 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.
Regional and International Cooperation: Kyrgyzstan participated in activities with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, and the Commonwealth of Independent States Anti-Terrorist Center. On November 30, a group of Central Asian states, including Kyrgyzstan, approved the Central Asia implementation plan for the UN's global counterterrorism strategy.
Overview : Maldives is a strategically located series of atolls in the heart of the Indian Ocean. The government believes that hundreds of young Maldivians attended madrassas in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, and was concerned that these students were bringing home radical ideology. The Government of Maldives has partnered with the United States to strengthen its law enforcement capacity and to conduct community outreach to counter violent extremism.
Legislation and Law Enforcement: The Department of Immigration and Emigration signed an agreement with Malaysia's Nexbis Limited in November 2010 to install a new border-control system with an integrated database. However, alleged corruption concerns and subsequent legal proceedings made it unclear when the system would be installed.
There were no successful prosecutions of individuals promoting violent extremism and terrorism in 2011, as existing laws severely limited the ability of law enforcement agencies to prosecute such cases. Two Maldivians, in separate instances in March and October, were arrested in Sri Lanka on charges linked to terrorism. Their cases were pending at year's end.
Maldives became a new partner nation in the Department of State's Antiterrorism Assistance program, which focused its initial programs on building capacity in counterterrorism leadership and management, critical target protection, and regional cooperation.
Countering Terrorist Finance: Maldives is a member of the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering, a Financial Action Task Force-style regional body, and has submitted annual status reports. Maldives underwent a mutual evaluation conducted by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the final evaluation report was adopted by the members in July 2011. Maldivian law does not criminalize money laundering apart from a small provision in the Drugs Act. The Maldives Financial Intelligence Unit took the lead in drafting an Anti-Money Laundering and Combating Financing of Terrorism act with assistance from the IMF. The draft bill was sent to the Attorney General's Office in July 2010 and was sent back to the Maldives Police Services and the Prosecutor General for review and comment. In July 2011, Maldives Financial Transactions Reporting came into effect, which aims to safeguard Maldives financial and payment systems from being used to promote acts of terrorism and money laundering, and to protect financial services and products from being used to conceal the proceeds of crime. The UN 1267/1989 and 1988 consolidated lists for individuals and entities associated with the Taliban and al-Qa'ida were sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for forwarding to the Maldives Monetary Authority, which then instructed banks and creditors to take action and report back within a specified time period.
Countering Radicalization and Violent Extremism : The Government of Maldives recognized that counter radicalization efforts form a critical component to long-term success against violent extremism, and has pursued initiatives to counter violent extremism. The Ministry of Islamic Affairs implemented a program designed to mobilize religious and social leaders to work against all forms of violence in society, including religious extremism that leads to violence. The Ministry conducted over 15 seminars and workshops for religious leaders, educators, and local government officials. Several of these workshops included participants from across the country.
Overview: Nepal has taken several steps to bring its laws into compliance with international standards. However, government corruption, poorly regulated trade, weak financial sector regulation, and a large informal economy made Nepal vulnerable to money laundering and terrorist finance. The most significant challenges were the lack of resources and capacity to enforce laws, and a lack of awareness on processes and reporting requirements. The government did not have the needed expertise and skills in the responsible agencies, particularly in investigation techniques. It also lacked a comprehensive counterterrorism law, further complicating enforcement efforts. Nepal experienced no significant acts of international terrorism in 2011.
2011 Terrorist Incidents:
- On September 28, a pressure cooker bomb went off in Siddhanath Furniture Factory located at Chauraha and another bomb was found at an oil store in Chatakpur. The Terai People's Liberation Front, formed in 2004 as a split of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), claimed responsibility for planting these two improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
- On November 22, a small, pipe bomb-style IED detonated at the offices of a Christian humanitarian organization, United Mission to Nepal, in Kathmandu. Police found literature for the extremist group Nepal Defense Army (NDA) at the site, but the organization has not claimed responsibility. No one was injured.
- On December 26, the Nepal Army bomb squad defused and disposed of two bombs planted at the office of the Udayapur District Development Committee in Gaighat. The Khambuwan Rastriya Mukti Morcha Samyukta, a militant group active in the Eastern districts, claimed responsibility for planting the explosives.
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. The government also increased the Armed Police Force and Nepal Police presence at several border crossings along the southern border with India. There were no arrests or prosecutions of known terrorists. Nepal participated in the State Department's Antiterrorism Assistance Program.
Countering Terrorist Finance: Nepal is a member of the Asia/Pacific Group (APG) on Money Laundering, a Financial Action Task Force (FATF)-style regional body. The Government of Nepal has taken a number of steps to bring its legislation into compliance with international standards, as outlined in the mutual evaluation by the APG and in the Nepal Action Plan agreed to as part of the FATF's International Cooperation Review Group process. These steps included passing the national strategy on Anti-Money Laundering/Counterterrorist Finance (AML/CTF), amending the AML/CTF law to include enhanced enforcement provisions, and establishing a 25-person AML enforcement department under the Ministry of Finance to investigate AML/CTF charges.
The Government of Nepal implemented UNSCRs 1267/1989, 1988, and 1373 through Directives issued by the Nepal Rastra Bank to the banking and financial sector. The government approved a five-year AML/CTF national strategy to address these deficiencies and was developing new legislation with technical assistance from the International Monetary Fund.
Overview:Counterterrorism efforts in Pakistan continued to have wide-ranging regional and global implications. Pakistan remained a critical partner on counterterrorism efforts, actively engaging against al-Qa'ida (AQ) and the Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP). However, its cooperation regarding other terrorist groups, such as Lashkar-e-Tayiba (LeT), was mixed. A series of events, including the May 2 Abbottabad raid that killed Usama bin Ladin, sparked intense international and domestic scrutiny of Pakistan's security establishment and strained the U.S.-Pakistan relationship and bilateral counterterrorism efforts. Cooperation began to recover slightly, as evidenced by the Pakistan military's September announcement marking the capture of senior AQ leader Younis al-Mauritani in a joint U.S.-Pakistan operation. However, progress stalled following a fatal November cross-border NATO/International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) incident that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers. Despite strained ties, Pakistani officials publicly reiterated that cooperation between the United States and Pakistan was in the best interest of both countries.
In addition to Pakistan's counterterrorism efforts, a deluge of politically and ethnically-motivated targeted killings in Karachi consumed the attention of Pakistan's Parliament, Supreme Court, and law enforcement agencies during the summer months.
Extremist groups also attempted to incite violence against reformers of Pakistan's blasphemy law. Elements of the TTP released statements praising the January assassination of Punjab Governor Salmaan, who had publicly spoken against the blasphemy law as divisive, encouraged Pakistanis to be more tolerant of other religions and cultures, and denounced extremism. In March, Pakistan's Minister of Minority Affairs, Shahbaz Bhatti, was also assassinated for speaking out against extremists. Bhatti encouraged Pakistani religious leaders to publicly denounce extremism and was a vocal critic of Pakistan's blasphemy law, which he saw as a tool for justifying extremist intolerance and violence. TTP claimed responsibility for Bhatti's death. Finally, in September, Sunni extremists conducted execution-style attacks on Shia pilgrims in Balochistan, evidencing a disturbing escalation of sectarian violence.
2011 Terrorist Incidents: Over 2500 civilians and 670 law enforcement personnel died in terrorist-related incidents, and the presence of AQ, Taliban, and indigenous militant sectarian groups continued to pose potential danger to U.S. citizens throughout Pakistan. The TTP claimed responsibility for the majority of Pakistan's almost daily attacks that targeted civilians and security personnel, with incidents occurring in every province. These included:
- On March 9, a suicide bomber killed at least 43 and injured 52 in an attack on the funeral procession for the wife of a local tribal militia member in Peshawar.
- On May 13, two suicide bombers killed at least 90, including 17 civilians, at a Frontier Corps training center in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The TTP claimed responsibility and called the attack retaliation for Usama bin Ladin's death.
- On May 16, militants shot dead a Saudi diplomat in Karachi; the TTP claimed responsibility.
- On May 20, the TTP attacked a U.S. Consulate General vehicle in Peshawar, killing one person and injuring one dozen, including two U.S. Consulate General employees.
- On May 22, a gun battle with militants at Pakistan Naval Station Mehran in Karachi killed ten military personnel. The TTP claimed responsibility and again designated the attack as retaliation for bin Ladin's death.
- On June 11, twin bomb blasts killed at least 39 and injured 88 in a supermarket near Peshawar. The TTP denied responsibility stating that foreign agencies were attempting to malign the group.
- On August 13, a U.S. citizen was kidnapped from his residence in Lahore. On December 1, AQ leader Ayman al-Zawahiri claimed to be holding the citizen and issued a list of demands in exchange for his release.
- On September 7, twin suicide attacks targeting the Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of the Frontier Corps's residence in Quetta killed at least 26 and injured 60. The DIG's forces were involved in the arrest of al-Mauritani. The TTP claimed responsibility.
- On September 13, TTP militants attacked a school bus in a suburb of Peshawar, killing four children and the driver.
- On September 20, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi militants in Balochistan ordered Shia pilgrims off a bus, lined them up, and opened fire on them, killing 29.
Legislation and Law Enforcement: In June, President Zardari signed the “Action in Aid of Civil Power Regulation, 2011,” which provides a new framework for the detention of insurgents in the Federally and Provincially Administered Tribal Areas. The regulation provides a legal framework for security forces to take, hold, and process detainees captured during conflict. Human rights organizations have criticized the regulation because it gives broad powers to the Pakistan military and these groups allege it is inconsistent with Pakistan's international human rights obligations. However, the Regulation establishes a legal framework that did not previously exist, and provides for detainee transfer to civilian custody for potential prosecution under Pakistan's criminal law. Media reports indicated that Pakistani authorities began implementing the regulation in November and that some transfer of detainees from military to civilian custody began before year's end.
Despite calls by the Prime Minister to move forward, Pakistan's legislature did not approve legislation aimed at strengthening its Anti-Terrorism Act. The acquittal rate for terrorist cases remained as high as 85 percent.
In November, biometric screenings at land border crossings began on the Afghan and Pakistani sides of the border.
Pakistani security forces conducted substantial counterterrorism operations in Kurram, Mohmand, Orakzai, South Waziristan Agencies, and in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province that resulted in the death or detention of thousands of militants. Law enforcement entities reported the capture of large caches of weapons in urban areas such as Islamabad and Karachi. In May, the Pakistani military significantly disrupted AQ's Karachi network by arresting senior commander Muhammad Ali Qasim Yaqub. Pakistani authorities captured Umar Patek, a key suspect in the 2002 Bali bombings, and returned the suspect to Indonesia for prosecution.
Trial proceedings continued against seven alleged 2008 Mumbai attack conspirators, including alleged LeT commander Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi. While most of the proceedings focused on procedural issues, during high-level bilateral meetings Indian leadership agreed to allow a Pakistani judicial commission visit India to record statements from key prosecution witnesses.
Pakistan remained a critical partner nation in the Department of State's Antiterrorism Assistance program, which provided tactical and investigative training at the Federal and Provincial levels.
Countering Terrorist Finance: Pakistan is a member of the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering, a Financial Action Task Force (FATF)-style regional body. Pakistan has been under review by the FATF because of deficiencies in its Anti-Money Laundering/Countering Terrorist Finance regime. In 2011, the FATF, in consultation with Pakistani authorities, added additional items to Pakistan's 2009 action plan, including a requirement that the government respond to third-party information requests.
UN-designated terrorist organizations were able to evade sanctions by reconstituting themselves under different names and gained access to the financial system.
Regional and International Cooperation: Pakistan is a founding member of the Global Counterterrorism Forum and supported the September inaugural meeting of its Coordinating Committee. In his address at the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Interior Ministers Conference, Pakistani Minister Rehman Malik recommended that SAARC create an inter-policing agency modeled after INTERPOL to better coordinate efforts to counter terrorism and money laundering.
Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Turkey signed a Memorandum of Understanding to work together to control money laundering and smuggling, eliminate terrorism, and share information in real time. In November, Pakistan hosted an Afghan delegation investigating allegations that the Pakistani-based Quetta Shura was responsible for the September assassination of former Afghan President Burhanuddin Rabbani.
Countering Radicalization and Violent Extremism: Pakistan took some steps to support both public and private sector initiatives to counter violent extremism. This included offering support for the United Arab Emirates' new International Center of Excellence on Countering Violent Extremism, launched at the GCTF. On a local level, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting developed a public awareness campaign. In Swat, Pakistan's army hosted a national seminar on de-radicalization for journalists, academics, and international donors to showcase its facilities in the region.
Overview: In 2009, the Government of Sri Lanka militarily defeated the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), which was seeking an independent homeland for Sri Lanka's Tamil people. The Sri Lankan government's comprehensive and aggressive stance of countering terrorism is a direct result of its experience in the 30-year long conflict. In 2011, there were no incidents of terrorism in Sri Lanka. The government cooperated with other countries on regional counterterrorism issues. Counterterrorism cooperation and training with the United States was minimal due, in part, to statutory and policy restrictions based on concerns about alleged past human rights abuses committed by Sri Lankan security forces.
The Government of Sri Lanka remained concerned that the LTTE's international network of financial support still functions; most counterterrorism activities undertaken by the government targetted possible LTTE finances. The possible resurgence of domestic militant Tamil groups is not an immediate concern, but efforts were underway to address possible growing Tamil radicalism in the north and east. The Sri Lankan government has used the fear of the possible re-emergence of the LTTE to maintain a strong military presence and role in the post-conflict areas, although the military's continued heavy presence in the north feeds Tamil resentment.
Legislation and Law Enforcement: Counterterrorism legislation in Sri Lanka has focused on eliminating the remnants of the LTTE and enforcing general security throughout the island. The Sri Lankan government continued to implement the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) of 1978 (Act no.48), which was made a permanent law in 1982 and remained in force. The Prevention and Prohibition of Terrorism and Specified Terrorist Activities Regulations No. 7 of 2006, which is the most recent version of Emergency Regulations, were allowed to lapse in September. On August 29, the day before the Emergency Regulations lapsed, the President issued new regulations under the PTA incorporating into it aspects of the Emergency Regulations that the PTA did not already include. Such regulations included proscribing the LTTE as a terrorist organization and keeping surrendered persons under rehabilitation.
The Terrorism Investigation Division of the Police has the primary responsibility for investigating terrorist activity. In March, Sri Lankan authorities arrested a suspected Maldivian terrorist carrying multiple passports. INTERPOL issued a statement that he was arrested for questioning in connection with the 2007 Sultan Park bombing, in the Maldives. The Sri Lankan government cooperated with both India and Maldives to gather proof in that case, but the suspect was released for lack of evidence. In October, the Sri Lankan police arrested an al-Qa'ida-affiliated Maldivian traveling on a forged Pakistani passport. Sri Lankan authorities were cooperative and assisted U.S. investigators following the arrest.
Countering Terrorist Finance: Sri Lanka is a member of the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG), a Financial Action Task Force (FATF)-style regional body. The Government of Sri Lanka amended the Prevention of Money Laundering Act and the Convention on the Suppression of Terrorist Financing Act in September 2011. The main objective was to strengthen the respective legal regimes to remove deficiencies identified by the FATF in 2010 and the APG in 2006. The FATF had urged Sri Lanka to criminalize money laundering and terrorist financing and establish and implement adequate procedures to identify and freeze terrorist assets. In addition, the Sri Lankan government has placed into effect the UN Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism, as well as created a specialized branch of the Central Bank – the Financial Intelligence Unit – to track possible terrorist financing.
Although the LTTE has been militarily defeated, the Government of Sri Lanka asserts that sympathizers and organizational remnants have continued to fund-raise in many countries. The LTTE had used a number of non-profit organizations for terrorist financing purposes, including the Tamil Rehabilitation Organization. The Sri Lankan government actively searched for other financial links to the LTTE and remained suspicious of non-governmental organizations, fearing they would be used by the LTTE.
Regional and International Cooperation: The Sri Lankan government remained committed to the counterterrorism efforts of international bodies such as the United Nations. The Sri Lanka Army held its “Seminar on Defeating Terrorism: The Sri Lankan Experience" May 31 to June 2, to discuss counterterrorism lessons learned. Forty-one countries attended the seminar, including South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation members, China, Russia, Japan, and the United States.
Overview: In 2011, Tajikistan corrected weaknesses in its counterterrorism strategy and demonstrated its ability to conduct effective counterterrorism operations. Tajikistan's counterterrorism policies focused on marginalizing radical Islamist elements and on increasing the capacity of Tajikistan's military and law enforcement community to conduct tactical operations through bilateral and multilateral assistance programs. However, government policies sometimes targeted the peaceful practice of religion and resulted in violations of the human rights of citizens, including freedom of religion and association.
Legislation and Law Enforcement: There have been many successful prosecutions under the Law on Combating Terrorism. However, a corrupt judicial system and misuse of counterterrorism statutes to suppress legitimate political opposition hampered the effectiveness of the government's counterterrorism efforts.
While Tajikistan made progress in improving border security with bilateral and multilateral assistance, the challenge of effectively policing the remote and rugged border with Afghanistan continued to exceed the capabilities of the government.
Law Enforcement Actions:
- On January 4, former opposition commanders Ali Bedaki Davlatov and several of his supporters were captured. Davlatov and another former commander, Mullo Abdullo, reportedly commanded a contingent of foreign and Tajik fighters that had slipped into Tajikistan from Afghanistan to exploit anti-government sentiment and conduct attacks. Local press reported that Bedaki was killed by government forces on January 4, 2011.
- On April 15, government forces killed Mullo Abdullo (Abdullo Rahimov) and several of his supporters in Gharm. Tajikistan continued to participate in the Department of State's Antiterrorism Assistance program.
Countering Terrorist Finance: Tajikistan is a member of the Eurasian Group on combating money laundering and the financing of terrorism, a Financial Action Task Force (FATF)-style regional body. Tajikistan's terrorist finance laws were not comprehensive and did not meet international standards. The government participated in the FATF International Cooperation Review Group process, which resulted in an Action Plan. By year's end, Tajikistan had not implemented the Action Plan or otherwise resolved identified deficiencies.
Tajikistan's inadequate criminalization of money laundering and terrorist financing and its inability to effectively identify and investigate suspicious transactions was of concern. Anti-money laundering and counterterrorist finance deficiencies included: inadequate criminalization of money laundering, inadequate procedures for confiscation of criminal proceeds, lack of requirements for comprehensive customer due diligence, lack of adequate record keeping, and the lack of an effective Financial Intelligence Unit.
Regional and International Cooperation: Tajikistan participated in regional counterterrorism exercises with Shanghai Cooperation Organization partner nations in September. Through its field mission in Dushanbe, the Organization of Security Cooperation in Europe worked with the Government of Tajikistan on programs to counter violent extremism, border security, and police reform projects during 2011.
Countering Radicalization and Violent Extremism: Stemming violent extremism and radicalization was a top priority for the Tajik government. Many of the government's measures, however, restricted basic religious freedom. Critics claimed that these heavy-handed government tactics, by driving the practice of religion underground, could ultimately contribute to the growth of violent extremism. We refer you to the Department of State's Annual Report to Congress on International Religious Freedom ( http://www.state.gov/j/drl/irf/rpt/index.htm ) for further information.
State's Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs successfully implemented its Community Policing Initiative in numerous Tajik communities, which is designed to improve police-civilian relations and reduce the appeal of extremist groups.
Overview: Turkmenistan continued its efforts to improve border security, increased its participation in regional efforts to counter terrorism, and took steps to strengthen its capacity to counter money laundering and terrorist financing. No terrorist incidents were reported in Turkmenistan in 2011. Turkmenistan's border guards, customs service, and law enforcement agencies lacked adequate personnel and remained in need of further training . Continued cooperation with international organizations to improve the quality of law enforcement, as well as government efforts to raise the standard of living of the general population could further constrain the ability for terrorist groups to operate in the country.
Legislation and Law Enforcement: The Turkmenistan State Border Service (SBS) continued an aggressive infrastructure improvement program in 2011. The government opened three new checkpoints on the border with Uzbekistan, expanded an existing check point on the border with Afghanistan, and took steps toward the construction of at least three more outposts along Turkmenistan's southern borders with Iran and Afghanistan. Turkmenistan continued to participate in the Department of State's Antiterrorism Assistance program.
Countering Terrorist Finance: Turkmenistan is a member of the Eurasian Group on combating money laundering and the financing of terrorism, a Financial Action Task Force (FATF)-style regional body. As a participant in the FATF International Cooperation Review Group process, Turkmenistan has worked to improve deficiencies and made progress in line with its Action Plan. Turkmenistan amended its Law on Countering Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing and took steps to improve the capacity of the Ministry of Finance's Financial Intelligence Unit. Turkmenistan did not prosecute any terrorist financing cases in 2011.
Regional and International Cooperation: Turkmenistan hosts the United Nations Regional Center for Preventive Diplomacy in Central Asia and hosted a conference on regional implementation of the UN global counterterrorism strategy at its headquarters in Ashgabat. At that conference, Turkmenistan signed an action plan with other Central Asian states committing to a wide range of activities to prevent and counter terrorism.
In April, Turkmenistan hosted the 65th Session of the Council of the Commonwealth of Independent States Border Forces Commanders, and actively participated in the Council's activities. In September, the government sent senior representatives from the State Border Service to a forum in Kyrgyzstan sponsored by the European Union-UN Development Program Border Management Program in Central Asia to discuss regional cooperation in border management.
Countering Radicalization and Violent Extremism: Government efforts ostensibly intended to suppress violent extremism have reportedly resulted in violation of the human rights of citizens, including freedom of religion, expression, association, and assembly. We refer you to the Department of State's Annual Report to Congress on International Religious Freedom ( http://www.state.gov/j/drl/irf/rpt/index.htm ) for further information.
Overview: The Government of Uzbekistan ranked counterterrorism among its highest security priorities. Sharing a land border with Afghanistan, the Government of Uzbekistan continued to express concern about a potential “spillover effect of terrorism” especially with the United States scheduled to withdraw troops by the end of 2014.
Legislation and Law Enforcement: Law enforcement and judicial bodies used charges of terrorism and alleged ties to extremist organizations not only as grounds to arrest, prosecute, and convict suspected terrorists and extremists, but also to suppress legitimate expression of political or religious beliefs.
For example, in October, local courts reportedly sentenced three men who had been extradited from Kazakhstan in June to between four and 13 years in prison on charges related to organizing illegal religious gatherings or circulating religious materials likely to threaten security and public order. As with many cases like this, it is difficult to determine if the convictions were truly terrorist- or extremist-related, or simply used to jail opponents of the regime.
As part of an end-of-year amnesty of prisoners announced by the Senate in early December, the Government of Uzbekistan included a group of prisoners identified as “individuals who were convicted for the first time of participation in banned organizations and the commission of crimes against peace and security or against public security and who have firmly stood on the path to recovery.” However, the decree also declared that prisoners considered to be “dangerous” – a term used in the past for prisoners convicted of violent extremism – who were about to complete their sentence, would be excluded from those being released.
The Government of Uzbekistan began issuing biometric passports in November. According to news reports, all citizens of Uzbekistan are expected to have biometric passports by the end of 2015. By late November only 93 biometric passports had been issued.
Countering Terrorist Finance: Uzbekistan is a member of the Eurasian Group (EAG) on combating money laundering and the financing of terrorism, a Financial Action Task Force-style regional body. In December, the Government of Uzbekistan ratified the Agreement of the EAG on Combating Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism. The Uzbek government did not report any efforts to seize terrorist assets in 2011. For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, we refer you to the 2011 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.
Regional and International Cooperation: Uzbekistan is a member of several regional organizations that address terrorism, including the Collective Security Treaty Organization and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). The Government of Uzbekistan also worked with several multilateral organizations such as the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime on general security issues, including border control. In November, counterterrorism officials attended an OSCE-sponsored seminar on anti-money laundering and counterterrorist financing. In December, the Government of Uzbekistan ratified the SCO's Convention Against Terrorism.
Countering Radicalization and Violent Extremism: Official government media continued to produce documentaries, news articles, and full-length books about the dangers of religious extremism and joining terrorist organizations. Some of these use, as examples, the stories of “reformed extremists.” The message is generally targeted to the 15- to 40-year-old male demographic, which the Government of Uzbekistan considered the most susceptible to terrorist recruitment. One full-length movie addressed the radicalization of women. Some non-governmental religious experts suggested that greater freedom to circulate moderate religious materials could prove more effective in countering extremism than the current government-produced material.