Kazakh in S. Korea indicted for financing terror group

A 20-year-old worker from Kazakhstan was arrested in South Korea. (Shutterstock)
Updated 22 November 2019

Kazakh in S. Korea indicted for financing terror group

  • The suspect was smuggled into the country three years back
  • A UN report warned in February of hundreds of Central Asians linked to terrorist networks entering South Korea

A Kazakhstani worker in South Korea has been arrested for financing a terrorist group in Central Asia, the Korean National Police said Thursday.

The suspect, in his 20s, entered the country three years ago and has been staying illegally without a visa, the police said.

While working at a factory in a southern rural area, the man was suspected of having transferred money worth about $1,000 to a terrorist group, a police spokesman said without elaborating the identity of the group. The suspect is known to have collected money from three other foreign workers, who are still at large.

“The suspect was arrested for violating the act on prohibition against the financing of terrorism as of Oct. 19,” the police said in a press release. “We’re still investigating if he had another accomplice.”

It is the first time that a person in South Korea has been arrested for breaching the act for countering the financing of terrorism since it was enforced in 2017.

In the past years, Central Asians have been involved in terror attacks in several cities including Istanbul, New York and St. Petersburg.

In July 2018, four western cyclists were killed in Tajikistan’s Danghara district by a group of five men who hit them with a car before stabbing them to death. The five men were alleged to be connected to Daesh, according to reports.

According to the November 26, 2018 edition of the Cipher Brief, a digital global security platform, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan are two countries to have produced the largest number of foreign fighters per capita: 1,500 AND 1,300, respectively.

“Terrorism trends in Central Asia suggest that the region is shifting from primarily an exporter of foreign fighters to one where domestic and regional terrorist attacks may become increasingly more common,” the report says.

A UN Security Council report on Daesh and Al-Qaeda warned in February this year that hundreds of Uzbeks linked to terrorist networks could have entered South Korea. The report said members of the Katibat Imam Al-Bukhari and Katibat Al-Tawhid wal Jihad groups had requested entry to South Korea via Turkey, as the militants chose South Korea, which has a large Uzbek community.

South Korea is also becoming increasingly vulnerable to “lone wolf” attacks associated with international terror groups.

In July, a 23-year-old South Korean national was indicted for plotting acts of terrorism with alleged links to Daesh militants while carrying out his mandatory military service.

The suspect was indicted on charges of having stolen one electric fuse for explosives during a special training on demolition techniques. He was also found to have had access to Daesh’s propaganda outlet, Amaq News Agency, and exchanged emails with Daesh militants through a secretive smartphone app, according to the police.

Future of talks unclear after Afghan security forces deaths

Updated 16 December 2019

Future of talks unclear after Afghan security forces deaths

  • Taliban claim responsibility for assault that killed 25

KABUL: Taliban guerrillas have killed up to 25 members of the Afghan security forces in the Ghazni province, officials said on Sunday.

It is the latest sign of an escalation in attacks by insurgents even as the fate of peace talks with the US remains unclear.

While members of the provincial council of Ghazni said that 25 local military staff on the payroll of the Defense Ministry died in the assault on Saturday in the Qarabagh district, the ministry put the losses at nine.

There were conflicting accounts about the nature of the attack.

A ministry spokesman in Kabul said that the incident may have been caused by a group of Taliban infiltrators or defectors. 

He said that an investigation had been launched to determine the exact cause of the incident.

Nasir Ahmad Faqiri, head of Ghazni’s provincial council, told Arab News that the insurgents had stormed the security forces’ posts when they were asleep. 

The Taliban also said that militants had staged attacks on the posts, putting deaths among the forces at 32.

“Our information suggests that 25 local military forces were killed in this attack; it is a big tragedy,” Faqiri said.

Ghazni lies on a strategic highway linking Kabul with the southern region and beyond and has been the scene of some of the bloodiest fighting since the start of the year between the Taliban and Afghan forces, backed by US-led troops.

In the face of rising Taliban attacks and as part of a move to stop forces being overstretched and instead serve as a mobile unit, the Defense Ministry established the local military force last year in some parts of the country.


• The talks resumed last week after US President Donald Trump paid a surprise visit to Bagram more than two weeks ago.

• Trump pushed for a resumption after calling off talks in September following the death of an American soldier in Kabul.

The force is supposed to be composed of former and retired army officers and act as a local police force. Its creation has been controversial in Afghanistan because members can misuse their power in a tribally divided country.

The reported toll of the latest Taliban attack in Qarabagh is the highest in a single strike since Thursday when US special envoy for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, announced a pause in the talks with militants following the latter’s abortive massive assault on a US-run major base in Bagram.

Khalilzad expressed outrage about the attack.

The talks resumed last week after President Donald Trump paid a surprise visit to Bagram more than two weeks ago. Trump pushed for a resumption after calling off talks in September following the death of an American soldier in a Taliban attack in Kabul.

Trump has said that a truce is a must for the resumption of the talks, a key demand of President Ashraf Ghani who was left out of all rounds of the discussions.

However, Khalilzad and some other US officials have spoken about a reduction in violence.

Dr. Wais Wardak, an Afghan analyst based in the US, said that in a clear change of policy, Washington was pushing for a truce as a pre-condition.

“I think this time the peace negotiations with the Taliban are more challenging than the previous nine rounds,” he told Arab News.

“This time, a cease-fire or reduction of violence has become a priority for Washington and its European allies who want a clear and pragmatic commitment from the Taliban that they are serious about the peace process …”

Dr. Wardak added: “On the other hand, just like Khalilzad, the Taliban negotiators in Qatar are also under a different sort of pressure from those Taliban who see their interest in fighting rather than peace or diplomacy. Their logic is that fighting is the only means they have at their disposal and that’s how they can assert pressure on the NATO, Afghan government and the Afghan people, which could ultimately land them a better deal.”

The Taliban have rejected a truce in the past, arguing that the group will observe it only after US commits itself to a timetable for withdrawal from the country.

“The talks are in a state of limbo now. The rising of Taliban attacks may have more negative impact on the talks,” Taj Mohammed Ahmadzada, another analyst, said in Kabul.