A Tajik conscript looks out over remote stretches of northern Afghanistan from a border outpost near Khorog, Tajikistan. Photo by David Trilling (c)
Daniel Morgan Graduate School’s Eurasia expert Edward Lemon has published a new landmark report “Jihadists from Ex-Soviet Central Asia: Where Are They? Why Did They Radicalize? What Next?.” The report examines why some 3,000 to 5,000 citizens from post-Soviet Central Asia were recruited to fight in Syria and Iraq, maps attacks by Central Asians and explores scenarios for what they will do next as militant groups lose ground in Syria and Iraq. Published by Russia Matters, a project at The Belfer Center at Harvard University, this report is co-authored by Vera Mironova and William Tobey, both from Harvard University, and examines former Soviet countries in Central Asia as a source of jihadist terrorism.
This unique report is based on fieldwork with Central Asian labor migrants conducted by Dr. Lemon between July 2014 and July 2015 in Russia, and on interviews with ex-fighters conducted by Dr. Mironova. By drawing on the personal stories of those recruited, the report sets itself apart from most of the literature on radicalization in Central Asia. The report observes that, “The destructive potential of violent extremists from Central Asia may be amplified by their ability to cooperate with other groups, particularly from elsewhere in the former Soviet Union, though not only. Some Central Asians have risen to positions of authority within IS and other international terrorist organizations, expanding their networks and clout . . .”
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Edward Lemon, Ph.D. is the DMGS-Kennan Institute Fellow at the Daniel Morgan Graduate School.
Between September 2016 and August 2018, Dr. Lemon was a Mellon Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow at the Harriman Institute at Columbia University. He gained his PhD in international studies from the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom in 2016.