TERRORISM IN AFGHANISTAN AND INSTABILITY IN CENTRAL ASIA

Abdolreza FARAJIRAD, Javad KHANSARI, Zahra RADMEHR, Mohamad DARKHOR


Abdolreza Farajirad, Assistant Professor of Political Geography at Islamic Azad University, Science and Research Branch (Tehran, Iran)

Javad Khansari, M.A. Student of Central Asia and Caucasus Studies at Allameh Tabatabaei University (Tehran, Iran)

Zahra Radmehr, M.A. Student of Central Asia and Caucasus Studies at Allameh Tabatabaei University (Tehran, Iran)

Mohammad Darkhor, Ph.D. Student of Political Geography at Islamic Azad University, Science and Research Branch (Tehran, Iran)


Introduction

Throughout human history, there have been many threats to the security of nations. These threats have brought about large-scale losses of life, the destruction of property, widespread illness and injury, the displacement of large numbers of people, and devastating economic loss. Recent technological advances and ongoing international political unrest are components of the increased risk to security.

Terrorism, as one of these threats to human security, literally means the use of force or violence against persons or property in violation of the criminal laws of the United Nations for purposes of intimidation, coercion, or ransom.

Terrorists often use threats to:

Create fear among the public;

Try to convince citizens that their government is powerless to prevent terrorism;

And get immediate publicity for their causes.

An analysis of more than 100 diplomatic or scholarly definitions on terrorism shows that most of them have one element in common: The use of violence for achieving the political, ideological, and/or social objectives.

The independence of Central Asias five Muslim republics in 1991 fundamentally altered the geopolitical scene in the center of the Eurasian continent. Two security threats were defined: the risk of loose nukes and the threat of imported radical Islam.

Since the Taliban movements emergence in 1994 and its subsequent conquest of 90% of Afghanistans territory, Afghanistan has been perceived as the prime security threat to southern Central Asia. The illegal narcotics trade centered in Afghanistan has accentuated this perception. Instability and unrest in Afghanistan has provided anti-regime forces from Central Asian states with a sanctuary. The most blatant is the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) that reportedly has over a thousand fighters only miles away from the borders of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

This has rekindled the domino theory of radical Islam, upsetting regional stability and endangering secular regimes. However, it is very doubtful that the Taliban ever aimed to spread radical Islam, its purpose was more likely to consolidate Afghanistan and its political orientation.

Afghanistan before the Rise of Islamic Radicalism

The history of Afghanistan has been decisively influenced by its geopolitical position and status, especially its location as the site of a struggle between the Russian empire (later the U.S.S.R.) and Britain (and the West). Afghanistans formation began in 1747 when Nader Shah, the ruler of Iran, of which Afghanistan was


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