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Islamic extremism in Central Asia: Witch hunt, or genuine threat?

A growing sense of insecurity has been palpable in recent months in Central Asia due both to concerns of a security vacuum in Afghanistan caused by the ending of ISAF operations and the inability of the Afghan National Forces (ANF) to keep the Taliban from increasing its effective control of the areas of rural Afghanistan, as well as by the specter of the Islamic State and worry that it has begun to reach into the neighborhood. The specter of the Islamic State, in particular, has caused angst in Central Asian capitals. The secular, post-Soviet Central Asian governments, fearful of political Islam, have reacted with a predictably heavy hand, liberally accusing numerous Muslim leaders and groups, many times on very flimsy or no evidence, of advocating “extremist” views that threaten the state and society.