(NBC News) After waging war on Islamist militants within its borders for decades, Russia now faces the prospect of such extremism along its southern frontier in Central Asia.
On June 5, radicals robbed two gun stores and stormed a military unit in the city of Aktobe, Kazakhstan, killing eight and injuring dozens in the first attack of such a scale in the oil-rich country.
According to Arkady Dubnov of the Carnegie Moscow Center think tank, this latest in a series of incidents highlights the risk that a "second front of jihad" could emanate from Kazakhstan and other nations that once made up the Soviet Union's Central Asian republics — Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan. […]
Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan especially face threats from within, according to Nargis Kassenova, a professor at leading Kazakhstan university KIMEP.
"The Islamists have a chance of taking power in Tajikistan, where the state is pretty weak," she said.
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