Kyrgyz Republic

Overview:  The Kyrgyz Republic’s CT efforts continued to concentrate on CVE, rooting out “extremists,” countering violent extremism, preventing those returning from conflicts abroad from engaging in terrorist activities, and repatriating FTF-associated family members.  The Kyrgyz government restricts public information on national security issues, making it difficult to assess the efficacy of its CT operations or the extent of the threat.  The country did remain vulnerable to transnational threats, especially in its remote southern region, where ill-defined and porous borders allow for the relatively free movement of people and illicit goods.  According to government statistics, since 2014 an estimated 850 Kyrgyz citizens have left the country to join terrorism groups.  The government faces limitations on its ability to rehabilitate, investigate, and prosecute, as appropriate, returning FTFs owing to a lack of expertise, resources, and potential shortcomings in its legal framework.

2022 Terrorist Incidents:  There were no reported terrorist incidents in the Kyrgyz Republic in 2022.

Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security:  There were some changes to terrorism-related legislation in 2022.  The existing law entitled “On Terrorism and Extremism” was separated into two separate pieces of legislation, called “On Terrorism” and “On Extremism,” with responsibility for implementation given to the State Committee for National Security (the GKNB) and the Ministry of Internal Affairs, respectively.  While the extremism law is still under review, the terrorism legislation was adopted.   The new law defines “terrorism” to exclude “calls for acts of violence” [emphasis added] and focuses instead on actions.

There were no reports in 2022 of the government using CT laws to prosecute political opponents.

The Kyrgyz Republic has issued biometric passports since 2021, but the government does not yet operate an API or PNR system for commercial flights.

International organizations and Kyrgyz government officials have expressed concerns that the Prosecutor General’s Office and the GKNB lack adequate tools and a legal framework to properly prosecute nationals suspected of committing terrorism acts abroad.

Authorities reported several “extremism” or terrorism-related arrests in 2022, including of individuals accused of recruiting Kyrgyz nationals to join international terrorist organizations.  The GKNB arrested the organizers of the 2016 terrorist attack on the Chinese embassy in Bishkek.

Countering the Financing of Terrorism:  The Kyrgyz Republic is a member of the Eurasian Group on Combating Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism, and its FIU, the State Financial Intelligence Service, is a member of the Egmont Group.  There were no significant changes in 2022.

For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, see the 2022 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes.

Countering Violent Extremism:  The Kyrgyz government is developing a 2023-27 national program entitled “On Countering Violent Extremism and Terrorism.”  Religious experts noted that for the first time the program includes rehabilitation of FTFs’ associated family members.

The Ministry of Education, with the State Commission for Religious Affairs (SCRA), continued to implement a curriculum for high school-age students on “moderate” Islam and to identify terrorist recruitment tactics.  The Ministry of Interior and the SCRA, in cooperation with local religious leaders and civil society, organizes CVE training to prevent radicalization to violence and religious “extremism” among youth.  The SCRA, both independently and in cooperation with the Muftiyat (state-run board of Islamic clergy) conducted joint CVE trainings for heads of religious educational institutions nationwide, as well as for Muslim women.  Both the SCRA and civil society representatives participated in conferences and fora organized by the United Nations Office of Counterterrorism (UNOCT) within the joint EU-UN initiative Strengthening Resilience Against Violent Extremism in Asia (or STRIVE Asia).

The SCRA Research Center partnered with the Civic Internet Policy Initiative, an NGO, to study how to improve the system of monitoring and analysis of the religious situation in rural areas of the Kyrgyz Republic.  The SCRA Research Center, in partnership with the local public fund Interfaith Council and the British firm REOC Communications, was also implementing a media campaign focused on countering online radicalization to violence and warning the general population about existing threats in cyberspace.  The Muftiyat, jointly with Mutakalim (the latter an organization focused on peace building through religious tolerance), and with the support of the United Nations Population Fund, conducted CVE-related trainings for religious leaders on the prevention of domestic violence.

The Probation Department of the Ministry of Justice, with the SCRA and UNDP, holds training on preventing violent extremism among its clients.  Together with the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the department continued a project on post-release monitoring and probation of FTFs and violent extremist prisoners.

The Kyrgyz Republic cooperates with the UN, the OSCE, and other international organizations and governments to facilitate CVE training and other CVE-related assistance programs.

The SCRA is working with the Embassy Bishkek-supported Ulybka Public Foundation to establish an Interfaith Council in three southern regions to promote and support the development of interfaith dialogue.

UNODC worked with the prison administration to secure violent extremists while developing a system to ensure they are not able to radicalize other inmates to violence.  In 2022, UNODC tested a newly developed risk assessment system.

International and Regional Cooperation:  The PRC and Russia provided assistance to law enforcement agencies in Central Asian countries, including the Kyrgyz Republic, in 2022. Bishkek, Jalal-Abad, Osh, and Talas are members of the Strong Cities Network, and Bishkek City Hall hosted a City Exchange workshop in December.  The Kyrgyz Republic participated in a joint UNOCT-OSCE conference on Regional Cooperation among Central Asian states within the Framework of the Joint Plan of Action for the Implementation of the UN Global Counterterrorism Strategy in March.

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