All Over the Globe

Measures to Struggle against Religious Extremism

Speech by the Kazakhstani Prime Minister Kasymzhomart Tokaev

To Oppose Religious Extremism and Terrorism



Central Asian countries seriously treat the danger, which religious extremism and terrorism may cause in the region. The announcements by President of Kyrgyzstan Askar Akaev and the Prime Minister of Kazakhstan Kasymzhomart Tokaev made on January 28 in Swiss town of Davos at the meeting of the World Economic Forum. They spoke at the �round table� meeting devoted to the cooperation for realization of the Great Silk Road project.

Central Asian countries �should do everything to oppose widening religious extremism, terrorism and drug business,� Askar Akaev said. Religious extremism is �one of the most important factors that may affect the stability and security in our region� and it concerns all countries of the region. It is connected with international terrorism and �with increasing drug traffic wave.� �We are making efforts to unite our potential and resources to struggle against these three most dangerous factors that may cause destabilization in the region,� Askar Akaev stated. He reminded that terrorists are trained in Afghanistan.

In his own turn, Kasymzhomart Tokaev emphasized that all countries in the region should take measures to oppose religious extremism that is very dangerous. �If Islamic radicalism spreads in Central Asia, all world plans will be under the threat,� he said. He added that it first of all concerns international oil projects.

General warns Chechen war may last another year

MOSCOW, Jan 31 (AFP)

Moscow was flooded with reports Monday that Chechen fighters were surrendering en masse, but rebels said clashes in the capital Grozny still raged while a top general warned the war may last another year.

Russian generals reported that some 200 Chechen fighters had surrendered in Grozny after absorbing more than two weeks of punishing federal ground and air attacks.

The original Chechen force in the war-ravaged city was estimated at between 700 and 3,000 fighters.

However Chechen leaders in Grozny denied the city was about to fall.

Aslanbek Ismailov, one of the Chechens in charge of defending the city, told AFP by telephone that clashes on Monday concentrated around the Grozenergey energy plant near Minutka Square.

Ismailov said the Russians were still unable to take the important junction, which opens the way to the center of Grozny from the southeast.

He said fighting in the plant � which has not been functioning since September � raged for some three hours on Sunday evening. Ismailov claimed that 50 Russians were killed in the fight, while the Chechens suffered only light losses.

Ismailov said up to 100 Russians had been killed in all of Chechnya over the last 24-hour span. Federal sources did not report any casualty figures on Monday, stating only that 110 air combat missions had been carried out over the republic.

Chechen sources also claimed to have shot down two Russian planes � one near the entrance to the Argun Gorge in the southern mountains and another near the village of Itum-Khala. Moscow did not comment on the report.

The Russians at one point vowed to take Grozny by mid-January. However a top general on Sunday conceded that the battles could rage for several more months.

General Gennady Troshev, in charge of Chechnya�s eastern front, said the war would last �until our victory, no matter how much time this will take � a day, two days, one month or one year.�

The West has pressured Moscow to halt hostilities in Chechnya and open talks with separatist leaders, a sentiment that has been expressed by a growing number of ordinary Russians who are growing tired of the war.

US Secretary of State Madeline Albright, on her first visit here Vladimir Putin became acting president, said Monday she would express �very clearly� Washington�s concerns over the war.

�Russia is isolating itself, as a result of Chechnya, from the international community,� Albright told journalists on her flight to Moscow.

�The only solution is a political dialogue,� she said, adding that she would �talk to them very clearly� about the position Washington has taken since the start of the conflict.

Taliban number two arrives in Pakistan for important talks


The second most senior figure in Afghanistan�s ruling Taliban regime arrived here Monday for a two-day visit expected to focus on relations with Pakistan and the conflict in the war-torn state.

Mulla Mohammad Rabbani, head of the council of ministers in Kabul, is leading an 18-member delegation of Taliban officials who will hold talks with Pakistani leaders.

Rabbani�s visit comes hard on the heels of Taliban foreign minister Wakil Ahmad Mutawakel�s trip to Islamabad last week.

Rabbani drove across the border into northwest Pakistan because of United Nations sanctions banning external flights of Afghanistan�s Ariana airlines. He later left by road for Islamabad.

The military government in Pakistan has pledged to promote a negotiated settlement to the conflict between the Taliban, who control most of Afghanistan, and the opponents of the Islamic militia.

During the Taliban foreign minister�s visit last week, Pakistan pressed for �urgent measures� for the establishment of peace in Afghanistan through dialogue and reconciliation.

The high-level contacts come ahead of the arrival here on February 3 of United Nations secretary general�s new personal representative to Afghanistan, Francesc Vendrell.

Accompanying Rabbani are Mawlawi Abdurraqib, Minister of Refugees Repatriation, Mawlawi Abdul Latif Mansoor, Minister of Agriculture, Mawlawi Yar Mohammad Rahimi, Minister for Communications and other officials.

On Sunday, Taliban information minister Mulla Qudratullah Jamal told the Afghan Islamic Press (AIP) the purpose of the visit is to strengthen bilateral relations and discuss issues of mutual concern.

Jamal denied reports that the issue of suspected terrorist Osama bin Laden may be discussed during the visit.

Neither bin Laden nor any proposal for talks between the Taliban and their opponents are on the agenda, Jamal told the Pakistan-based agency from Kabul.

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