Neighborhood Watch

by Nathan Hamm on 9/28/2004

From today’s Eurasia Daily Monitor.

Uzbekistan has implemented a series of practical measures in Namangan Region (Eastern Uzbekistan, bordering Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan), aimed at raising public confidence in the ability of the local authorities to cope with the threat posed by terrorism. The regional law-enforcement bodies have established close cooperation with locals and Uzbek border guards. Indeed border control, vital to any effective counter-terrorism plans, has been enhanced through information sharing with neighboring states. Locally, twelve anti-terrorist information teams have been formed, consisting of diverse individuals ranging from public figures to scientists; their task is to explain the need for combating terrorism at local meetings of concerned citizens. Meetings and round tables have convened in these border areas on topics such as “Protect your home yourself,” resulting in active discussion. Moreover, 120 groups of “neighborhood guards” formed by the Kamolot youth social movement are involving themselves in nighttime “public vigilance” operations (Uzbek Radio First Program, September 23).

The article also mentions the tension between project an ‘”in-control” image and relying on the public for help and Uzbekistan’s interest in involving NATO in improving border security under its Partnership for Peace Draft plan.

I’m sure that the active encouragement of citizen involvement in information gathering and turning informant will draw howls of outrage from certain quarters, though I’ll give them the opportunity to do so on their own before I get upset about it.

UPDATE: I included the direct link above.

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– author of 2991 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Nathan is the founder and Principal Analyst for Registan, which he launched in 2003. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan 2000-2001 and received his MA in Central Asian Studies from the University of Washington in 2007. Since 2007, he has worked full-time as an analyst, consulting with private and government clients on Central Asian affairs, specializing in how socio-cultural and political factors shape risks and opportunities and how organizations can adjust their strategic and operational plans to account for these variables. More information on Registan's services can be found here, and Nathan can be contacted via Twitter or email.

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