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BISHKEK, May 24 (CentralAsiaOnline) – Kyrgyz security officials are worried about the possible appearance of the Haqqani terrorist network in Kyrgyzstan, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported May 16-17. 

Kyrgyz security agencies have determined that the Haqqani Network, which operates in Afghanistan and Pakistan, has ties with Kyrgyz organized crime, RFE/RL reported, adding that the suspected co-operation is focused on drug trafficking. The network has aided Kyrgyz crime ringleaders during police crackdowns by giving them shelter in Pakistan, according to the agencies. 

“In 2007, during a ... crackdown, some of (those ringleaders), on the pretext of performing religious proselytizing as part of the Tablighi Jamaat movement, went ... to Pakistan,” Artur Medetbekov, a general in the security forces, told RFE/RL. “They underwent a certain kind of instruction there. After they returned home, they continued their (criminal) activity, but in a new key. Unfortunately, we haven’t been working against the fusion of organized crime and religious extremism.”

The tie between organized crime and terrorist groups isn’t limited to drug trafficking, said Emil Zheenbekov, chief of the Interior Ministry Administration for Resisting Extremism and Fighting Terrorism.

“The concept of Takfir teaches that some crimes are permissible against non-Muslims and Muslims who don’t observe certain Islamic requirements,” he said. “Such circumstances open up certain horizons for members of the criminal world. This concept is now widely held in organized crime.”

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