14 January 2014
TASHKENT, January 14 (RIA Novosti) – The leader of the Central Asian nation of Uzbekistan said Tuesday that he was concerned by mounting threats on its borders, including in neighboring Afghanistan.
Islam Karimov said rising radicalism and conflict in Afghanistan were among the most alarming dangers linked to a rise in drug-trafficking and religious extremism.
“Escalating threats near our borders cannot but raise deep concerns and worry,” Karimov said in an address on Tuesday.
Karimov said a key priority for the former Soviet nation’s defense forces was to analyze risks related to the situation in neighboring territories.
Karimov warned that the withdrawal of NATO-led troops from Afghanistan
by the end of 2014 will pose a serious challenge for all states in Central
Asian and that it could “lead to even more tension” near Uzbekistan’s borders.
Central Asian leaders have frequently pointed to what they perceive as potential threats of spillover in violence from Afghanistan, although incidents of actual unrest have been limited and sporadic.
Karimov in particular has taken a firm line in suppressing virtually all signs of Islamic fervor.