Central Asian political experts suggest that foreign militants would be less likely to be lured away by CERP funds. "The IMU has developed a reputation, as far as anybody knows, of being a very serious jihadist group. They are increasingly active and essentially an affiliate of al Qaeda," said Paul Quinn-Judge, Central Asia project director for the International Crisis Group. "They [IMU militants] are not country kids in Afghanistan who are earning some money on the side by occasionally attacking US or Allied troops." "They are not the sort of people you would expect to take hand-outs or buy-outs from the Department of Defense," Quinn-Judge added. Mars Sariev, a Bishkek-based political scientist, suggested a limited number of IMU militants might be tempted. "About 3,000 members of the IMU are ethnic Uzbeks," Sariev estimated. "Most people who join this kind of organization are poor and they join up because they want to make a social protest of sorts. If they get money for it, if they have an opportunity to do something else, the number of IMU members might fall." Sariev added that Afghanistan’s northern neighbors would be pleased to see the reintegration scheme bear fruit. "I think the Central Asian countries and Russia would be only happy and breathe a sigh of relief if the scheme was successful," he said. Quinn-Judge said any reintegration initiative that extended to IMU militants would not be blocked by Uzbekistan. However, officials in Tashkent likely have restrained expectations for the reintegration scheme, he suggested. "At the moment the Uzbeks and United States are getting on extremely well, [and] anything like this would be coordinated. But I would speculate the Uzbek security services are telling their American counterparts they don’t stand a chance," he said. Disclaimer statement Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information supplied herein, DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions. Unless otherwise indicated, opinions expressed herein are those of the author of the page and do not necessarily represent the corporate views of DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News.
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