UN Official warns of extremism in Central Asia

The UN envoy to Kyrgyzstan, Miroslav Jenca, is warning that extremist groups in Central Asia can use social and economic problems to spread their influence throughout the region.
Jenca also says the conflict in Kyrgyzstan was sparked because of tensions that exist in the country, and that reconciliation is needed between ethnic groups to avoid further conflict. He notes there is a danger of extremism in the Fergana Valley and in a broader sense throughout Central Asia, given that it borders Afghanistan.  He says there are a number of well-known extremist organizations in the area which can use current circumstances as fertile ground to realize their plans.

Southern Kyrgyzstan needs social and economic development and also reconciliation of local ethnic minorities, according to Jenca. He also says a lot will depend on how the government and international community will help the interim government get out of the current situation to help refugees and people who have lost a roof over their heads.

International assistance may prove of paramount importance, because Uzbekistan does not have enough resources to cope with as many as 100,000 refugees, who risk renewed slaughter if they try to return to homes in Kyrgyzstan that no longer exist, says Alisher Khamidov, a Central Asian researcher with Johns Hopkins University.

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