BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan — Color me unimpressed:
Kyrgyzstan’s security services said on Tuesday its officers had foiled a plot by al Qaeda-linked Islamist radicals to disrupt this month’s presidential election and sow chaos in the country’s volatile south…
The Central Asian country’s State Committee on National Security (GKNB), successor to the Soviet-era KGB, said on Tuesday it had killed one religious radical and detained 11 other members of banned radical Islamist organizations.
“This group had been preparing a series of actions to disrupt the election,” GKNB head Keneshbek Dushebayev told a news conference.
He said the group consisted of members of the Islamic Jihad Group and Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. The two organizations are close al Qaeda allies.
So this could have happened. But hyping al Qaeda in the South just because there are a bunch of Uzbeks there is also a long tradition in Kyrgyzstan (that news story, sponsored by CENTCOM, also includes an awesome dig at Maxim Bakiyev meeting with UTO and IMU guys in Badakhshan, Afghanistan, and agreeing to destabilize Kyrgyzstan – which is totally feasible, for reals).
Anyway, if things break my way here I’ll be heading to southern Kyrgyzstan soon and I’m hoping to say whether there really is an Al Qaeda plot there or not. I’m guessing not, but I can always be surprised.