What's Behind Kyrgyzstan's U.S. and Russian Counterterror Training Centers?
A couple of weeks ago, Kyrgyzstan's president, Roza Otunbayeva, announced that the country was planning to construct two counterterror training centers in the southern part of the country, and that one would be built by Russia and the other by the U.S. Her announcement raised a lot of questions, which I posed to Alisher Khamidov, a EurasiaNet contributor and expert on southern Kyrgyzstan. He said that fears of Islamist militants from Tajikistan as well as the military of Uzbekistan are motivating Kyrgyzstan to develop the centers, and that Otunbayeva puts a higher priority on the U.S. center than on the Russian one. From our email Q&A:
Q: There hasn't been much evidence of a threat of terrorist infiltration from Tajikistan -- in fact, the "terror" threat in Tajikistan seems to be largely driven by local strongmen with local grievances. Do you think Otunbayeva genuinely believes there is a terror threat, or is this a pretext for some other motive?
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