Security cooperations tackling transnational crime in Central Asia

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In Central Asia, beyond tension over ethnic, gas or water disputes, low intensity conflicts against Islamic terrorists and drug traffickers are posing increasing threats to the security of the West. Thousands of weapons of mass destruction are poorly controlled in the region, giving rise to fears that terrorists will steal them. These Islamic terrorists groups are expanding, adapting and changing rapidly, joining forces and increasing their drug trafficking. Central Asia has indeed become a major transit zone for drugs from Afghanistan to Europe. Poverty and lack of democratic space are fertile grounds for extremists’ actions. The recently established multiple security mechanisms are beginning to take effect. The key ones seem to be the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and the Organisation of Collective Security both orchestrated by Russia. Meanwhile, America’s strategic presence in the region disturbs the regional equilibrium and is conducive to the radicalisation of Islamic groups. It is clear that in order to tackle in an effective manner transnational crime in Central Asia, the strategy needs to be both multidimensional and to have a regional approach. – Summary AFRI-2005