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Cablegate: State Committee for National Security Defends Civilization

VZCZCXRO7619
RR RUEHDBU
DE RUEHDBU #1433/01 3501132
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 161132Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY DUSHANBE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1042
INFO RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL 0339
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD 0214
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 0166
RUEHDBU/AMEMBASSY DUSHANBE 2250

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 DUSHANBE 001433

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/16/2019
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM PTER TI
SUBJECT: STATE COMMITTEE FOR NATIONAL SECURITY DEFENDS CIVILIZATION

REF: (A) DUSHANBE 617 AND LATER (TAVILDARA SITREPS), (B) DUSHANBE 347 (LAW ON RELIGION)

CLASSIFIED BY: Kenneth Gross, Ambassador, Exec, DOS.
REASON: 1.4 (b), (c), (d)
1. (C) Summary: In a 75 minute meeting on December 11, State
Committee for National Security (GKNB) Deputy Chairman for
Counterterrorism General Abdullo Sadulloevich Nazarov described
the terrorist threats facing Tajikistan, argued that
authoritarian measures were necessary to defend civilization
against destructive radicalism, and insisted that the new law on
religion would be used only against groups which threatened
state security. End Summary.


2. (C) PolEcon Chief called on General Nazarov to get his views
in advance of drafting this year's Terrorism Report. Nazarov
expressed some surprise that such a report was available on the
State Department website and took a few minutes to carefully
read the 2008 report, translated into Russian. Nazarov
commented that the 2008 report was largely accurate, but he
could not fully agree with its description of Tajikistan's
border security forces.


3. (C) Nazarov first commented that the GKNB highly valued
assistance from the United States and coalition partners, and
that such assistance was important to fight terrorist groups.
He said that the lack of motivation among border guards cited in
the 2008 report in fact had existed for some time, including
when Russian forces manned the border. He said that Tajik and
Russian forces had sometimes accused each other of allowing
violations of the border to take place. However, after the GKNB
took over the border guards in 2005 it had cleaned up the border
guards, firing those who were involved in illegal activities,
and greatly increased the organization's effectiveness. Nazarov
claimed the border guards had been able to arrest almost all
major drug barons, Afghan and Tajik.


4. (C) Nazarov noted the GKNB and other services were also
fighting Al Qaida and Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU)
members who tried to infiltrate Tajikistan. He described how in
Spring and Summer 2009 in Tavildara, Tajik security forces
killed or drove away members of international terrorist groups,
including ethnic Koreans, Tatars, Dagestanis, and Chechens.
[Note: The Ministry of Interior stated to the media on August 5,
2009, that the Interior Ministry and State Committee for
National Security finished an anti-terror operation in the
country's southeast during which 11 militants were killed.
Embassy understands from its sources that the combat operations
were mainly carried out by Ministry of Interior OMON forces.]
Nazarov said that Tajik security forces were operating to the
limit of their abilities, but needed better technology,
transport, communications, and arms, and the United States could
help in these areas.


5. (C) Nazarov continued that the Tavildara events showed the
relative effectiveness of Tajik security services, despite
scarce resources. About a dozen Russian citizens from Saint
Petersburg and Tyumen had flown to Tajikistan, crossing Russian
security points despite being on wanted lists in Russia. Tajik
security forces arrested 5-6 of the group in Dushanbe, and
destroyed the others in Tavildara. Then IMU leader Tohir
Yuldashev sent five IMU members to assist the militants in
Tavildara, but Tajik security caught this group in Darvaz. This
IMU group also planned to set bombs near the perimeter of the
U.S. Embassy in Dushanbe to create panic in Dushanbe (Nazarov
noted in passing that the embassy compound itself was too well
defended for an attack). Security forces had found the
explosives the group planned to use for this attack. The group
also planned to conduct reconnaissance for an attack against the
Nizhny Pyanj bridge.


MANIPULATIONS


6. (C) PolEcon Chief asked whether the threat posed by terrorist
organizations to Tajikistan increased in the past year. Nazarov
avoided a direct answer. He said that Al Qaida, the IMU, and
the Islamic Jihad Union (IJU) were active in many countries,
including Tajikistan, but with the help of other countries "we
can eliminate them." He gave the example of a visit to Berlin
in June 2009, where he had revealed to the Germans the existence
of an IMU cell in Germany.

DUSHANBE 00001433 002 OF 003



7. (C) "We would have destroyed them long ago" Nazarov said, if
other countries didn't manipulate terrorist groups for
"geopolitical goals." For instance, in Pakistan Osama Bin Laden
wasn't an invisible man, and many knew his whereabouts in North
Waziristan, but whenever security forces attempted a raid on his
hideouts, the enemy received warning of their approach from
sources in the security forces.


8. (C) Russian peacekeeping forces in Tajikistan in 2001-2002
had helped terrorist groups transit Tajik territory into
Uzbekistan to destabilize that country. "Who gave them arms and
equipment?" Nazarov rhetorically asked. He said that at
Shanghai Cooperation Organization meetings Tajik representatives
asked the Russians how known terrorists kept getting through
Domodedovo and Sheremetovo airports. Nazarov did not say what
response the Tajiks received.


THE DEVIL IS NOT SO TERRIBLE


9. (C) Nazarov complained of media exaggerations about
terrorism, repeating the old saying "the devil is never as
terrible as he's described." If 12 men infiltrated Tavildara,
in the press it became 200-300 men, Nazarov said. Mass media
gave terrorists free advertising, and made them look more
important than they were. Nazarov said "we must stop this" to
be able to fight terrorists more effectively.


10. (C) Turning to the question of rising religious radicalism
in Tajikistan, Nazarov said radicals trained in Pakistan were
trying to infiltrate Tajikistan and that they and Afghan
terrorists hoped to exploit radical sentiment in Tajikistan.
This radicalism posed a threat to society and the state. So the
Supreme Court's ban on Salafism, the Jamaat e Tabligh, and
Hizb-ut-Tahrir aimed at eliminating their influence in society.
He noted that Jamaat e Tabligh members claimed they were only a
missionary organization, but during the events in Tavildara some
Tabligh members revealed their true colors by trying to go join
the militants. The human rights community criticized Tajikistan
for being harsh with the Jamaat e Tabligh and other groups, "but
if we don't act harshly, Tajikistan will be like Kashmir."


11. (C) Asked whether the new law on religion helped or hindered
in fighting terrorism, Nazarov said the law applied to a
specific situation. "We were harshly criticized for it," for
instance for the article forbidding children to attend mosques.
"But look at the Iranian revolution," Nazarov said. Mosques
brought people together and then into the streets. "Tajikistan
isn't America" he continued, and the new law provided some
limits on the influence of religious leaders. Children need
secular education, then later they could attend mosques, Nazarov
argued. He said that Imams trained abroad called for "death to
America" in their sermons, and that this practice must stop or
"Tajikistan could be a little Iran." So the Government must
"tighten the screws" on radical groups to preserve civilization
in Tajikistan.


12. (C) Might the law backfire, by inspiring more radicalism,
especially in a time of declining economic fortunes and
increasing difficulties in providing basic services such as
education and health care? Nazarov thought not. The law was
directed at particular groups, not society in general, and
repressing of religious groups was a temporary measure until the
state was firmly established. And he took exception to PolEcon
Chief's reference to economic and social services problems,
saying forcefully that the Government had "done much for the
people since independence" including bringing roads, more
electricity, and schools to Tajiks.


COMMENT - A TRUE BELIEVER, BUT PERHAPS NOT IN RUSSIA



DUSHANBE 00001433 003 OF 003


13. (C) Nazarov spoke quickly, in a friendly manner, and seemed
genuinely pleased to have a U.S. diplomat seek his views. He
came across as a true believer in the need for tough measures to
control religion, and in the view that Islam is opposed to
civilization. His claims that the GKNB had cleaned up the
border guards and helped arrest major drug barons was
self-serving propaganda. More notable were his repeated
critical references to Russia as a state which manipulated
terrorist groups to its own ends. End Comment.
GROSS

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