CSTO to hold operation targeting extremist recruiters

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BISHKEK (TCA) — The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) — a security alliance of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Tajikistan — will for the first time hold a large-scale operation targeting recruiters affiliated with a number of terrorist organizations, a CSTO deputy secretary general said, TASS news agency reported on June 21.

“We have never held an operation like this before, and plan to conduct it this year,” CSTO Deputy Secretary General Valery Semerikov told TASS on June 20. “It will be held within the framework of a special operation of our law enforcement bodies and special services and will target mercenary and recruiting activities.”

“The timeframe of this operation depends on member states, an operation like this is possible only with their consent. It will be held for the first time involving all CSTO member states, including on the territory of Russia,” he said.

According to Semerikov, terrorists of the Islamic State radical group are trying to establish contacts with extremist groups operating in CSTO member states.

“Islamic State militants gained foothold in Afghanistan, several thousands of them are already there,” he said. “They seek contact with clandestine terrorist groups acting on the territory of our states. They find them, establish contact and those groups are reinforced by individuals who received training and combat experience on the territory of Syria.”

The CSTO is a post-Soviet security bloc founded in 2002 on the basis of the 1992 Collective Security Treaty. It comprises Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Tajikistan.

Sergey Kwan

TCA