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27 September 2013

INTERPOL Chief’s visit to Kyrgyzstan highlights region’s counter-terrorism role

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan – During his first official visit to Kyrgyzstan, INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble attended an exercise at the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) Anti-Terrorism Center to witness first hand the results of counter-terrorism training conducted by law enforcement in the region.

At the invitation of the head of the Anti-Terrorism Center, Colonel General Andrey Novikov and the Head of the State Committee for National Security for Kyrgyzstan, Busurmankul Tabaldiev, the INTERPOL Chief observed the exercise, which simulated a terrorist attack and hostage rescue situation.

Conducted jointly by Kyrgyz and Russian law enforcement agencies, the exercise focused on terrorists taking hostages simultaneously at different locations in the country, therefore requiring a closely coordinated response at the national and international levels.

“The recent terrorist attack at a shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya where more than 60 people were murdered and 150 injured is a brutal reminder of the willingness of terrorists to strike us at our most vulnerable points, when and where we least expect it.

“The CIS Anti-Terrorism Center and CIS member states recognize that in today’s world, terrorists are capable of striking anywhere, at any time. Only through practice, planning and testing the strengths and weaknesses of our anti-terrorist efforts can we hope to be ready for the next major attack,” concluded Secretary General Noble.

The CIS Anti-Terrorism Center regularly conducts exercises with its member countries in a variety of terrorism-related situations, including attacks on hard targets such as nuclear sites and soft targets such as schools, commercial airplanes and football stadiums.

During his visit, the Secretary General also met with Kyrgyzstan’s Minister of Internal Affairs, Abdulda Shergazievich Suranchiev, and visited INTERPOL’s National Central Bureau (NCB) in Bishkek, which links police in Kyrgyzstan with INTERPOL’s global tools for combating transnational crime.

Minister Suranchiev highlighted the importance of international police cooperation through INTERPOL in tackling the organized criminal networks in the region. At the request of the Ministry of Interior, INTERPOL will soon initiate a strategic analysis of transnational crime groups operating in Central Asia with direct or indirect links to terrorist activities.

“Combating crimes such as terrorism and drug trafficking in Kyrgyzstan requires close collaboration among law enforcement agencies both regionally and globally. An important tool for achieving this collaboration is the INTERPOL Travel Document, which is currently under review for recognition in Kyrgyzstan,” said Minister Suranchiev.

The INTERPOL Travel Document offers a special visa status to officials travelling internationally on INTERPOL-related business. To date, 62 INTERPOL member countries have officially recognized the Document, and it is being considered for recognition by the Kyrgyzstan Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Kyrgyzstan, through its NCB, has been involved in significant arrests of fugitives wanted for serious crimes including murder, kidnapping, armed robbery and drug trafficking.

In May, NCB Bishkek shared information via INTERPOL with NCB Ankara that a Turkish man wanted for causing death had taken a flight from Kyrgyzstan to Turkey, leading to his arrest. In another case, Kyrgyzstan authorities in April located a man wanted by Pakistan for murder, kidnapping, illicit weapons and drug offenses; discussions are ongoing between the two countries regarding his possible extradition. 

Kyrgyzstan also works closely with INTERPOL to combat terrorism and other transnational crimes affecting the region, in particular through its participation in INTERPOL’s anti-terrorism Project Kalkan and through its membership of the Central Asian Regional Information and Coordination Centre for combating illicit trafficking of narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and their precursors (CARICC).