All anti-terrorist organizations primarily fight against the most unpredictable and dangerous threat to peaceful existence. Terrorism is not just a hazardous act; the very possibility of its rise is perilous.
Analysts say that terrorism unlike other phenomena has a simplified internal structure, which ensures its high resiliency and even mutation. Therefore, policies to combat terrorism should be mainly aimed at the reduction of areas of its life, elimination of resources feeding it. The terrorism threat map of Central Asia shows that areas of the spread of extremism are much bigger than the zone of terrorist activity. In other words, terrorism emerges and spreads in regions where extremist ideas and slogans are popular. Consequently, traditional measures to combat terrorism, which include military, or, say, special operations to eliminate terrorist groups, should be conducted at their core.
The fight against terrorism and religious extremism comes to the forefront in the domestic and foreign policy of the Central Asian states. Take Kazakhstan as an example. Members of terrorist organizations are trying to set up terrorist training bases in the republic. By date Kazakhstan has banned 11 terrorist organizations and 1 extremist one by the court decision.
Against this background it is necessary to lift public debate on countering terrorism onto a new level and pool efforts of all state and public institutions in anti-extremist operation. This topic has been in the limelight of almost every meeting of the Central Asian leaders lately. However, this July the U.S. DHS listed Kazakhstan among “special designated countries” that “have shown a tendency to promote, produce or protect terrorist organizations or their members”. What countries are entered on the list – those with possible eruption of terrorism or there are some other unknown reasons? It naturally puzzled the Kazakh foreign ministry. “The situation is fundamentally contrary to the spirit of strategic partnership of Kazakhstan and the United States. We expect immediate action from our American partners to rectify it”, - said RK foreign office’s press-secretary Ilyas Omarov. Later the U.S. said it was “a report concerning not countries but individuals” and added that the U.S. highly appreciated Kazakhstan’s effort in the fight against terrorism. Given such erroneous statements, it is worth reminding that Kazakhstan was first to join the initiative to combat nuclear terrorism and was among its initial partners along with Australia, Britain, Germany, Italy, Canada, China, Russia, USA, Turkey, France and Japan.
Political solution of security problems in Asia is also associated with Kazakhstan’s initiative to convene the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA) and cooperation in this area is becoming more systematic and profound. The CIS member states are interacting within the Anti-Terrorism Center set up at the initiative of Kazakhstan President in 2000. In 2004 Kazakhstan’s Supreme Court banned four organizations who were provenly involved in terrorist attacks and in 2005 another 7 such as al-Qaeda, Asbat al-Ansar, Muslim Brotherhood, Boz Gourde, Jamaat mujahideen of Central Asia, Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, Islamic Party of East Turkistan, Kurdish People’s Congress, Lagikar-i-Taiba, Taliban and Social Reform Society. Consequently, actions of this Central Asian country prove its policy to be different from protecting and developing terrorism. Realizing that the fight against international terrorism and extremism requires cooperation between states at all levels (global, regional and bilateral) the Republic of Kazakhstan has signed a number of international and intergovernmental treaties and agreements in this field. Today Kazakhstan is a member of regional anti-terrorism structures such as CIS ATC, SCO RATS and CSTO.
It is important that the country has mechanisms of nipping and suspending online distribution of unlawful information, including of terrorist and extremist content, provided for by the law “On amendments to some RK legislative acts on information and communication networks”. After a regular meeting of OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation) the country boosted public anti-terror outreach, through dissemination of relevant read among believers that helped popularize anti-terror views among the population and curb attempts to spread terrorist views and its latent forms. Kazakhstan President’s concerns about the situation were reflected in his state-of-the-nation address, in which he explicitly noted that “escalation of terrorism in the country can urge it to seek a new level of coordination and activity of all the states in the region and concerned countries”, since the threat of terrorism and extremism, earlier considered in Kazakhstan as potential, can become a real threat to the safety of citizens, society and state. Therefore, combating this evil is a priority of the country’s national security. That “wanted” members of terrorist and extremist organizations attempt to use Kazakhstan for holing up is an alarming symptom for the country. Over the past four years, more than 20 members of terrorist organizations and illegal armed groups were handed over to its foreign partners.
International experts assess Kazakhstan as a consistent and staunch supporter of collective and comprehensive fight against international terrorism. However, there are some problems in international relations. Kazakhstan believes it is necessary to set up joint investigative teams to tangibly enhance effectiveness of international cooperation. But the use of this form of cooperation is currently hampered by that the majority of participants have not yet finalized domestic procedures for its entry into force. That means solidarity is still important and necessary in the ongoing struggle “for” elimination of terrorism.