While bombs continue to fall on Afghanistan, Central Asian states are trying to focus international attention on the region's future security. Regional leaders said during a recent United Nations conference that a well-coordinated international effort will be needed to successfully combat terrorism.
Delegates from more than 160 countries participated in the United Nations debate on combating terrorism from October 1-5. Central Asian representatives including Afghanistan's northern neighbors Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan placed special emphasis on a future UN role in preventing international terrorism.
"The United Nations ... must play a key role in setting up a global system to counter this large-scale threat posed by international terrorism,'' said Tajikistan's UN Ambassador Rashid Alimov.
Central Asian delegates attempted to foster debate about the post-Taliban order. Several speakers focused on the under-funded Terrorism Prevention Branch of the UN Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention, which operates in Vienna. Uzbekistan's UN envoy, Alisher Vohidov, said new funds should be made available so that the Vienna office could develop into an antiterrorism center. Such an office could "provide technical and consultative services to states, international and regional organizations to implement international instruments and decisions of the United Nations," Vohidov added.
Russia is supporting the creation of an international anti-terrorist center under UN auspices. A top Russian official suggested that an anti-terrorism center established by the Commonwealth of Independent States in Kyrgyzstan could serve as the hub of international security efforts.
Several regional organizations in Central Asia have made anti-terrorism initiatives a top priority. Those groups include the Shanghai Organization for Cooperation, the five-year-old regional alliance that includes China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Another regional organization intent on fighting terrorism-related activity, including drug trafficking, is GUUAM, comprising Georgia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and Moldova.
During the UN debate on October 4, Azerbaijani Ambassador Yashar Aliyev, speaking for GUUAM, reiterated the organization's view. "There is a need for a proper anti-terrorist international institution
Todd Diamond is a journalist who covers the United Nations.