Statement at the High-level International Conference on Countering Terrorism and Preventing Violent Extremism
Distinguished UN Under-Secretary General,
Distinguished OSCE Secretary General,
Dear Heads of Delegation,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
At the outset, I would like to welcome you and your delegations to the ancient Tajikistan.
This event today will focus on a topical issue of the current time being, which is countering terrorism and violent extremism.
I believe that this forum will make it possible to comprehensively discuss the issues related to countering this cholera of the century and develop and impelement joint and coordinated initiatives and recommendations.
It is obvious that peace and stability and sustained security of countries is among our key objectives and the most important criterion for launching and maintaining creative processes for the sustainable development at the international and regional levels.
Currently, millions of people throughout the world have been subject to risks and threats of wars and conflicts, terrorism and extremism have turned into an unprecedental global threat causing tragic and long-term public, political, and moral consequences.
During the recent years, more than 100 countries of the world became the target of devastating terrorist attacks, which killed hundreds of thousands of peaceful people and millions of people left their residents, places and areas in the aftermath. The economic loss caused to countries amounted to hundreds of billion dollars.
Only in Afghanistan, last year the aftermath of terrorist attacks damaged more than 10 000 and killed more than 4 000 peaceful people. Sadly, 32% of fatalities and 53% of wounded people were women and children. It is obvious that in such a situation, countries of the world cannot succeed in countering the growing peace and security threats and challenges, and ensure peace and stability individually. Therefore, given the existing reality, we need to acknowledge the enhancement of regional and global cooperation and partnership for ensuring inclusive stability and security by undertaking joint initiatives on countering terrorism and extremism and elimination of political military and financial support factors, as a practical tool for release from this dangerous phenomena.
In this process, we think we need to be clear and comprehensive in our reaction to growingly increasing threats of terrorism and extremism by ensuring the key role of the United Nations and its relevant agencies as the coordinating institution.
The UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and its antiterrorist conventions, the UN Security Council and the UN General Assembly resolutions should be the base of our joint counteraction to terrorism and extremism.
Sadly, today we witness that the strategic standoff has intensified in the world and we clearly notice the signs of secondary expansion of the cold war. This situation undermines the efforts of the international community to counter the global threats and challenges and negatively impacts the fundamental principles of the world order and system.
With this regard, I would like to emphasize that Tajikistan is the national partner of all countries of the world and international and regional organizations in countering terrorism, extremism and radicalization and other threats and challenges of the time being, like illicit drugs and arm trafficking, organized transnational crimes and cyber crime.
In the current complicated situation full of contradictions, we need to operate rather than competing and attempting to dominate.
We need to foster cooperation based on trust, solidarity and close coordination between the security and law-enforcement agencies to achieve the expected outcomes in countering the threatening phenomena of the time being.
With this regard, our country continuously makes efforts to ensure effective joint fight against threats and risks of the present time as an active UN member state and will continue making efforts to expand its constructive activities in this area in the future.
Strengthening wider cooperation with international partners is an important factor for us in implementation of the objectives reflected in our National Counter-Terrorism and Extremism Strategy (2016-2020) and its Action Plan with 12 thematic pillars. In this context, Tajikistan established targeted cooperation with its partners within the regional institutions, like the Commonwealth of Independent States, Collective Security Treaty Organization and Shanghai Cooperation Organization. We will continue our efforts to implement these institutions’ objectives in ensuring peace and security.
It is worthwhile noting about the upgraded and expanded cooperation between the Central Asian countries during the recent years in general. In its turn, this made it possible to ensure improved quality cooperation and coordination between the security agencies of our countries. Tajikistan welcomes this process of the development of relations between the countries of Central Asia and is committed to strengthen and expand its cooperation with all neighboring countries.
I have to note that arranging this Conference jointly with the United Nations, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, European Union and other partners proves the commitment of Tajikistan for cooperation on countering and prevention of security threats and challenges at all levels.
Tajikistan became the target of destructive actions by terrorists and extremists with the support of its so called foreign supporters at the early 90s of the 20th century – as early as at the beginning of establishment of sovereign state. At that time international terrorist and extremist organizations transformed our country into the field of test of their deadly power and the target of their antihuman objectives. At that period Tajikistan faced all tragic events taking place in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Afghanistan currently.
The offscreen sordid motives of the original initiators of those devastating actions and their sponsors, which originated from extremism and terrorism ideas, was to impose a strange culture and medieval thinking on our people via force and murder and create an Islamic state in Tajikistan. In the aftermath of the imposed chaos and civil war hundreds of thousands of our citizens were killed and more than one million of peaceful people lost their residences and became refugees.
However, thanks to our long-standing civilization and culture we managed to arrange a wide dialogue and ensure national peace and unity. The dedication and courage of the Tajik nation in protection of its borders, ancient cultural and civilization values, its strong will for peace and creative and constructive activities made it possible to prevent the actions of internal and foreign terrorists and extremists in our newly independent country. Building upon our peace-building experience, alongside with severe counteraction to terrorism and extremism we strongly support the peaceful resolution of the current disputes and conflicts within the framework of norms acknowledged by the international community.
The history and harrowing experience of many countries, including Tajikistan witnessed that only cooperation and joint actions will make it possible to win in the fight against evil forces and global threats. However, sadly so far the International community has not unanimous position on definitions of terrorism and extremism.
In my opinion, the double standards policy is not acceptable for effective countering terrorism and violent extremism and radicalization at all. In contrary, such a positioning leads to further geographic expansion of the unpredictable ways and forms of these dangerous threats, because terrorism and extremism neither acknowledge border nor they do state.
This is the reason, currently the terrorist and extremist groups unite with radicalized religious and nationalist organizations and other criminal bodies and commit violence, murders, religious, race-based conflicts and even conflict of civilizations in various parts of the world.
In this context, we are also clearly concerned that the terrorists and extremists misuse the sacred Islam to disseminate their Islamophobic ideas and promote hatred of muslims.
This way of discreditation of Islam with more than 1.5 bn followers throughout the world decently contributing to the development of civilized world, may cause dangerous aftermath.
Accordingly, to prevent Islamophobia, we need to expand the environment of trust, tolerance and mutual understanding between the socieites and civilizations, which in its turn will increase our possibilities for countering the current threats and challenges.
With this regard, I have emphasized many times and I would like to reiterate that the terrorists and extremists do not have any motherland, nation and religion.
The terrorist is terrorist and s/he cannot be insider or outsider, or tolerant and radicalized.
The global nature of the terrorism and extremism threat seriously requires us to have identical position and define and adopt unified definitions of these two terms.
Ladies and Gentlemen!
Currently due to insecure situation in various parts of the world the security threat to our region is also growing. Our country, due to its geographical location, is in the frontline of countering the current threats and challenges. Everybody knows that peace and stability in Central Asia directly depends on the security situation in Afghanistan.
Tajikistan with its long border with Afghanistan (more than 1400km), cannot be indifferent with regard to the current situation in this friendly neighboring country, including in its northern parts.
We still in the 90s of the last century emphasized the need for immediate solution to the challenges faced by our neighboring Afghanistan many times via the platform of international and regional organizations, including the United Nations.
Unfortunately, during specific discussions some high-ranking politicians used to say that it was our and the region’s challenge, but not theirs. In addition, they thought that the causes of this challenge was the unfair competition between the ethnical groups and tribes in the region. However, the time showed that all of our warnings were true and it is the political indifference, due to which the then challenges transformed into the global threats and challenges. Only after the horrifying 9/11 terrorist attack in New York the countries of the world understood the seriousness of the issue and focused on it. However, it is already difficult to prevent this unpleasant phenomenon, which already became a global case.
This statement can be proved by the fact that if previously representatives of almost 15 countries served as warriors for Taliban, now citizens of more than 100 countries joined and fight for the ISIS and other terrorist groups. According to the available information the number of warriors of the terrorist groups deployed in Iraq and Syria reached almost 100 000 and a part of them were killed within antiterrorist operations.
In this regard, a question comes to mind that where is the rest of those warriors and which countries and organizations they are in touch with? We are concerned that a part of them already returned to their countries or are on their way back home and they can cause threat in their own countries.
We already witnessed that even small terrorist groups managed to commit terrorist attacks in a number of European countries and caused death of people and instability.
I have to emphasize that after the antiterrorist operations in Syria and Iraq members of individual extremist and terrorist groups came to Afghanistan and transformed this country into the field of international terrorism war. We are seriously concerned with the expansion of operations of the terrorist and radicalized groups such as the ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Taliban and other unions in addition to the illicit drug smuggling in this country, including in its areas bordering with Tajikistan.
Tajikistan supports the international community’s efforts on comprehensive solution to the Afghan case. We believe it is very important to provide timely assistance to the people of Afghanistan particularly in its decade of transition (2015-2024) within all possible dialogues and interventions. We think that support to socio-economic development of Afghanistan is one of the effective ways for revival of peace and stability in this country. Therefore, we would like to call on the international community to increase their hands-on assistance to support Afghanistan in this process and thereby improve the security situation in this country.
In this regard, I would like to emphasize once again that it is impossible to win the terrorism and extremism through military actions only. In this process, we believe it is very important to constantly focus on the social aspects of the growth of this phenomenon.
Poverty, unemployment, low level of literacy and social protection of population are among the factors urging people to go into violent ideas to seek for social justice. Accordingly, it is the requirement of the time-being that the advanced economies of the world need to pay more attention to support the needy countries in terms of necessary economic, financial and technological support within socio-economic programs.
One of the causes of extremism and terrorism expansion is the wide application of the latest information technologies by terrorist organizations, particularly the use of internet for promotion of extremist ideas, recruitment of new members and preparation for and management of their devastating acts. Therefore, strengthening of international and regional cooperation, including exchange in information about the effective ways and forms of tracking these websites, excluding them from internet and providing mutual support in this area is an important criterion of success in the fight against cybercrime.
Illicit drug trafficking, which is one of the main sources of terrorism and extremism funding, is among the global challenges. Fight against this phenomenon by the international community urges to undertake immediate measures and joint interventions with the use of all possible ways and tools. Improved coordination and support to the countries in the front line of counteraction to drug trafficking is the requirement of the present time.
Tajikistan, having understood this global threat, has been making significant efforts to counter the illicit drug smuggling for many years. Since 1994 our law enforcement and military agencies confiscated more than 120 tons of narcotics.
Tajikistan drafted and adopted its National Counter Narcotics Strategy, which is a preventive document and includes an action program covering bilateral, regional and multilateral cooperation. This Paper, bearing in mind the close connection between the illicit drug trafficking and the terrorism, extremism and radicalization, aims to eliminate the causes of this phenomenon in the society.
Distinguished Heads of Delegation,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
At the conclusion I would like to once again welcome you to Tajikistan and wish you enjoy your stay in our country.
May I also wish good luck to participants of the forum today good luck in their discussions and deliberations.
I believe that the outcomes of this Conference will make it possible to expand our cooperation in the field of joint counteraction to terrorism and extremism and ensure a world free of dangerous phenomena of the century.
Thank you for your attention.