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Majlis Podcast: Bringing Central Asians Home From Syria, Iraq


On April 30, a plane arrived in Dushanbe from Iraq carrying 84 children whose parents had joined the Islamic State militant group.

On May 10, Kazakhstan's interim president, Qasym-Zhomart Toqaev, announced that 231 Kazakhstan citizens had just been repatriated from Syria. On April 30, a plane arrived in Dushanbe from Iraq carrying 84 children whose parents had joined the so-called Islamic State (IS) militant group.

The Central Asian governments were aware more than five years ago that some of their nationals had gone to join extremist groups in Iraq and Syria.

As the IS lost ground in those Middle Eastern countries there was the increasingly pressing question of what to do with these nationals should they seek to return to Central Asia. Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan have adopted different policies regarding citizens who joined extremist groups in the Middle East and their possible repatriation.

RFE/RL's media-relations manager, Muhammad Tahir, moderated a discussion on how the individual Central Asian countries are handling the question of the return of their nationals from conflict zones in Syria and Iraq.

From Kyrgyzstan, Asel Murzakulova took part in the talk. Murzakulova is a research fellow at the University of Central Asia in Bishkek, and also was a member of the RFE/RL team that produced the recent Not In Our Name https://pressroom.rferl.org/not-in-our-name counterextremism project. From Kazakhstan, Keneshbek Sainazarov, the Central Asia director for the Search for Common Ground https://www.sfcg.org organization and also a participant in the Not In Our Name project, participated in the Majlis session. Salimjon Aioub, the acting director of RFE/RL's Tajik Service, known locally as Ozodi, joined the discussion. And I had a couple of things to say, as always.

Majlis Podcast: Reintegration Of Repatriated Central Asian Fighters
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About This Blog

Qishloq Ovozi is a blog by RFE/RL Central Asia specialist Bruce Pannier that aims to look at the events that are shaping Central Asia and its respective countries, connect some of the dots to shed light on why those processes are occurring, and identify the agents of change.

Bruce Pannier
Bruce Pannier

Content draws on the extensive knowledge and contacts of RFE/RL's Central Asian services but also allow scholars in the West, particularly younger scholars who will be tomorrow’s experts on the region, opportunities to share their views on the evolving situation at this Eurasian crossroad.

The name means "Village Voice" in Uzbek. But don't be fooled, Qishloq Ovozi is about all of Central Asia.

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