Suicide Bombing Highlights Russia’s Islamist Terrorism Problem

The suicide bombing on August 19 in the North Caucasus republic of Ingushetia in Russia is a tragic reminder of increasing extremist violence in this troubled region.

The suicide bomber targeted participants in the funeral of the police officer killed in a shooting incident the day before. The explosion killed seven police officers and wounded 15 others who came to pay last respects to their fallen comrade. Also, on Saturday evening in the town of Khasavyurt in nearby Dagestan, a masked gunman opened fire in a mosque, killing one as worshipers celebrated the end of Ramadan. This is typical for extremist Salafi attacks on more moderate mosques around the world, including in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Despite the fact that Russia officially ended its counterterrorism operation in Chechnya, the North Caucasus has been marred by rising violence and risks, turning it into one of the most violent and lawless regions in the world and a hub of international terrorism. As Russia continues to lose effective control of the North Caucasus, extremist groups may start waging an even greater terror campaign inside Russia and beyond, joining forces with Islamist fighters in central Asia and Afghanistan as the latter prepares for the withdrawal of U.S. forces.

Islamist terrorists from the self-proclaimed Caucasus Emirate have already attacked energy infrastructure, trains, planes, theaters, and hospitals. In December 2011, a suicide bomber exploded in Moscow’s Domodedovo international airport, resulting in scores of killed and wounded. The establishment of an Islamic caliphate in the North Caucasus, which is the aim of self-proclaimed emir Doku Umarov, would be a disaster for Russia and the entire region.

However, the Kremlin’s approach to fighting extremism in North Caucasus isn’t working. The multifaceted strategy implementation has been plagued with torture, extra-judicial killings, administrative detentions, and rampant corruption.


The Foundry has the full article

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