Kyrgyz Claim That IS Allocated $70 Million To Destabilize Central Asia

Kadyr Malikov is the director of a Bishkek-based think tank.

Against a backdrop of ever-growing Central Asian fears over the threat posed by Islamic State (IS) militants, the director of a Bishkek-based think tank has claimed that the Sunni extremist group has allocated around $70 million to destabilize the situation in Central Asia. 

Kadyr Malikov, who leads the Religion, Law and Politics analytical center, told reporters at a January 20 Bishkek press conference that the main goal of the Islamic State group is to destabilize the situation in the Fergana Valley, a region that spreads across eastern Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan.

According to Malikov, there is a fighting faction within IS named Mawarannahr (an Arabic term meaning “Transoxiana” and referring to a region that roughly corresponds to contemporary Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, south Kyrgyzstan and south-west Kazakhstan). This group, which includes militants from Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan, will be allocated the $70 million to use for a series of terrorist attacks in Central Asia, Malikov claimed.

While he did not give any details about the sources of his claims, Malikov did admit that the “information has not been confirmed yet, but we receive signals.” In his warning of the “Mawarannahr Group,” Malikov is likely referring to an Islamic State video from October, in which a group of Central Asian militants from the predominantly Uzbek faction Katibat al-Imam Bukhari pledged allegiance to the IS group and its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi…