Saturday, July 5, 2008

Al Qaeda Recruits Children in Central Asia

According to a CBS news report Al Qaeda has moved into the former Soviet Union in order to recruit children for their cause. The terrorist organization is estimated to have recruited a few hundred children, mostly from Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, CBS's source has said.

"'The effort to recruit young boys for the cause has been extended to central Asia. We have reports that this effort may now be up to two years old,' said one senior Middle Eastern security official who spoke to CBS News on condition of anonymity. "

If this report is true, the likely result is increased cooperation between the US, NATO, Russia with Central Asian dictators to combat terrorism. It wouldn't be surprising if China got more involved either. Russia will be especially forthcoming in military aid as Al Qaeda makes in roads into their 'backyard'.

In the long run, recruiting children in Central Asia will probably be a PR defeat for AQ in Central Asia as Central Asian Muslims are generally more moderate than their Afghan coreligionists. Hopefully, the collective disgust of recruiting child-terrorists will translate into communities working together to eject AQ from Central Asia. I'm curious to know how Uzbeks and Tajiks on the street will react/are reacting to this news.


Opulent said...

You'd be hard pressed to convince me that the US is going to find any help among the Russians; more likely the Russians will reject help from the US and try to solve the problem unilaterally (there's a whore of a word if ever there was one).

James said...

True. I guess I should have been clear that I meant that each of these individual entities will work with Central Asian states to combat AQ infiltration, if indeed this report is accurate.

James said...

The US and Russia are unlikely to co-operate, but the Central Asian leaders will more than likely except help from the both the US, Russia, China and NATO simultaneously, just as they did after 9/11 in response to the IMU and the Taliban.

Mom said...

Unfortunately, even in moderate Muslim countries, Wahabi-type radicals have opportunities to turn some people's hearts and minds. Witness the fairly recent raids and arrests in Azerbaijan by the government there. It wouldn't surprise me to see some success in countries with less economic success and more Islamic seriousness.

James said...

You're right. There has been some degree of radicalization in Central Asia, but it has been fairly minor so far. Tajikistan seems particularly vulnerable.