Islamic State recruits thousands from Central Asia: expert
The number was given by Canadian expert Rafal Rohozynsky at the international conference on information security in Astana.
According to Rohozynsky, thousands of militants flock to the combat areas from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
Rohozynsky warned that their possible return to their homelands was likely to cause a lot of trouble for the Central Asian nations.
"The big challenge for Kazakhstan is that these guys will go back to their homeland because IS today isn’t something that only happens in Syria and Iraq. This is about the creation of a caliphate, which Kazakhstan should become part of as well," the expert said.
Four thousand is a serious number, which is only expected to grow. The ideology of IS was spreading beyond Syria and Iraq and already reached Central Asia and Africa, he said.
Rohozynsky pointed out the difference between Al Qaeda and IS in that the first was something of an “exclusive” group, whereas IS “invites everyone”.
“But how far this ideology develops further depends on our will, on what we can do to fight this problem, on our cooperation,” he concluded.
In September, Kazakh analyst Yerlan Karin also spoke about the number of fighters from Central Asia on the side of the Islamic State. However, the numbers he gave were much lower: about 250 from Kazakhstanis, 100 from Kyrgyzstan, 190 from Tajikistan, 500 from Uzbekistan and 360 from Turkmenistan.
Another well-known Kazakh political scientist Dosym Satpayev said that the number of militants could not be known to either experts or special services.
Nevertheless, he said that the danger posed by the Islamic State was very real. He agreed that the return of the militants with experience in sabotage activities to their homelands could lead to both intensification of terrorist activities and creation of new formations of radical Islamists.
By Dinara Urazova