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Uzbekistan Under Threat of ‘Central Asian Spring’. Role of IMU Militants

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Uzbekistan Under Threat of 'Central Asian Spring'. Role of IMU Militants

The situation in Afghanistan impacts neighbor states obviously. Ongoing developments step to step lead to the reinforcement of the Taliban’s influence in the country. The Afghanistan crisis conducts a number of threats to the Central Asia. While Taliban seeks to gain the power directly in Afghanistan and isn’t aimed to expand in other countries, its allies have other plans.

Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) is a Taliban’s ally in the northern part of Afghanistan. Furthermore, IMU has a strong links with the Fergana Valley in eastern Uzbekistan. Thus, this group is one of the main threats to the Uzbekistan’s stability. The country has a major human potential. The Uzbekistan’s destabilization could become an opener of the “Central Asian Spring”.

Also, the situation in Uzbekistan is tense because of low standards of living and education, distrust of the authorities. The parliament of Uzbekistan de facto doesn’t work and all power is concentrated mainly in the president’s hands and less in the hands of the local clans which compete against each other.

According to experts, jitters have been growing among the clans holding the power in the country. The only fact which prevents local stakeholders from an open conflict is a personality of the Uzbek President Islam Karimov.

Thus, Uzbekistan is impacted by the next factors:

  • Militant thereat of Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan strengthening in Afghanistan because of alliance with Taliban.
  • Domestic social tensions conducted by low standards of living and distrust of the authorities.
  • The transition of power problem. Islam Karimov became the President of Uzbekistan in 1990. He is the first and only president of the country. He’s 77 years old. At the moment, nobody can definitely say who will become his successor and there are no front runners on the scene.
  • Competition among the local clans will raise while the moment of the power’s transition will be closer.

These factors have created a strong ground for the possible destabilization of the country by foreign players. In the nearest future, we will likely able to observe attempts to do this inside Uzbekistan, especially in the Fergana Valley. Separately, the border between Uzbekistan and Afghanistan could easily become a place of the hard security and humanitarian crisis because of the raise of militant activity there.

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