If Rahimjan Makhatov had a radical bent, he kept it well hidden.
Before Kazakh officials announced that the 25-year-old had carried out the country's first suicide attack last week, he was an unremarkable figure. Now, in light of that bombing and another apparent attack today in the capital, he and those who influenced him are under intense scrutiny.
A controversial, opaque US defense initiative to make payments to Taliban fighters who renounce violence has been extended until September 2012. While a large, but unspecified amount of funding is devoted to the program, no one appears to be keeping track of how the money is being spent.
The Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan is the only officially recognized, faith-based party in Central Asia. But Tajik President Imomali Rahmon’s administration appears to be taking aim at the party as part of a general crackdown against Islamic extremism.
Authorities in Kyrgyzstan appear to be laying the groundwork for a broad crackdown on perceived religious radicals, following January 4 firefights that left four law-enforcement officers and two alleged militants dead.
Afghan and international forces missed their mark in the hunt for a senior leader of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) in northern Afghanistan's Konduz Province last week, but they didn't go home empty-handed.
Officials in Tajikistan, apparently worried about a potential rise of militant activity in the economically embattled Central Asian state, are putting pressure on Tajiks studying abroad at Islamic universities and madrasas to return home.