(The Diplomat) (Co-authored by Lawrence Markowitz) The two-day June 2016 Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit in Tashkent, Uzbekistan hosted leaders from the region to address a range of traditional issues, including drug trafficking, human trafficking, organized crime, and terrorism. What has been left out of these discussions is the all-important intersection of these activities, which creates a trafficking/terrorism nexus.
The gravity of the nexus has been recognized in the academic and policy worlds. The states of Central Asia have been named as an important site where terrorism and trafficking intersect. While these intersections can take on various forms, two, in particular, have been observed in the region. Drug trafficking groups have carried out armed attacks on state agencies and representatives, and terrorist groups have resorted to drug trafficking and illicit trade for financing their activities in pursuit of political aims.
Tajikistan, where Islamist attacks have allegedly been on the rise, exemplifies these types of crime-terrorism intersections. The summer of 2012 saw a spike of violence in Gorno-Badakhshan, an impoverished and lawless region, which was given autonomy as part of a power-sharing agreement following the civil war. Local warlords filled the power vacuum in the region, winning the support of the Pamiri communities who often feel unrepresented by the current Tajik government of President Emomali Rakhmon. […]
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