ISIS to sets sights on Central Asia?

The Islamic State, the jihadist group better known as ISIS, was said to have allocated US$70 million in an attempt to destabilize Central Asia, posing significant threats to China's borders, reports nationalistic tabloid Global Times.





The terrorist group's leaders reportedly decided to allocate the fund to one of its internal armed organizations, which was formed by a Central Asian group, in an attempt to create a "second front line" in the region.


Islamic militants' recent attacks in Europe suggest they aim to expand around the world, said Xia Yishan, a senior research fellow at the China Institute of International Studies. It is possible that the group will choose Central Asia as its next destination, which would threaten Chinese border territories, said Xia.


Kazakhstan president Nursultan Nazarbayev and national security committee chief Nurtai Abykayev discussed threats from terrorism and extremism on Tuesday and decided to step up border control to prevent terrorists from entering the country.


Kadyr Malikov, of Kyrgyzstan's think tank, the Religon, Law and Politics Analytical Center, said the group aims to destabilize the Fergana Valley that spans eastern Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.


ISIS reportedly has 300 members from Kazakhstan and another 1,000 members from Russia.


The head of a Russia multinational cooperation association said ISIS was trained by US intelligence agencies and has been used by the US to maintain the country's influence in Central Asia. The group has not only targeted Uzbekistan but also Kazakhstan, Russia's Tatarstan and Bashkortostan states.


Another Russian expert specializing on Middle East and Central Asia issues said ISIS' intentions in Central Asia have been exaggerated and the group's main focus is consolidating its control in Iraq and Syria.