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15 Apr, 2009 14:06

Afghan terrorists now a threat to Russia

Afghan terrorists now a threat to Russia

Terrorist groups brewing in the region of the Afghan-Pakistani border are one of the biggest threats to the national security of Russia and its allies in the region, reports the Federal Security Service.

“Despite the effort of the international coalition in Afghanistan, terrorist groups have managed to rebuild their potential under the flag of Al-Qaeda, which has strengthened its role as an international coordinator of terrorism,” said Colonel General Aleksey Sedov, who heads the FSB’s task force tackling terrorism threats.

The military official was speaking on Wednesday in Moscow at a security conference of members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, a Eurasian security block. According to him, the NATO-led operation failed to take into account cultural and regional specifics of the region, which lead to spiraling insurgency.

“The Afghan-Pakistani border is the breeding nest for international terrorism. Numerous training camps there prepare militants and suicide terrorists, who are later transported to countries of Central Asia, Iraq, Russia and afterwards, Europe.”

The general mentioned several terrorist organisations as posing the worst threat towards Russia, including the Taliban, Al-Qaeda, Islamic Jihad, Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen and the Islamic movement of Uzbekistan.

The unfolding global economic crisis may contribute to surge of terrorism across the world, the counter-terrorism expert warned.

“We believe the global economical crisis may be an additional factor contributing to an escalation of terrorist and extremist activity in various regions of the planet. Vivid examples are recent events in western-European and Baltic countries, a constant source of tension in Somalia and Horn of Africa countries.”

Sedov said terrorists and extremists are gaining proficiency with cyber warfare and may be planning cyber attacks on official organizations and private companies, which deal with vulnerable objects of infrastructure.

“There is information that terrorists use the Internet to simulate attacks on specific locations and to subtly coordinate actions of different cells,” he said. “Terrorist materials are published in more than 40 languages. Analysts believe that for, say, Al-Qaeda, survival of its ideology is far more important that the survival of individual members of the organization, and the Internet as it is now is a perfect means of propaganda.”

He added that the increasing expertise that terrorist organisation have in IT poses a ‘principally new threat’.