Chechnya Crisis: Islamic militancy rises in former Soviet republics
Vladimir Putin, the Prime Minister, recently told leaders of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), a grouping of 12 former Soviet republics, that "now is the right time to give meaning" to a collective security treaty. He said that as the Chechnya crisis deepened and in the wake of bomb attacks on Russian targets, Central Asian states faced a threat from international extremists "sheltering behind religious Islamic slogans".
Referring to rebels in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, he said: "We are not fighting Muslims; we are fighting terrorists."
Rebels are attacking Kyrgyzstan's south-western tip after crossing from Tajikistan. Though offers of Russian troops have been declined by the Kyrgyz, weapons and "technical support" have been gratefully received.
The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) fighters are aiming to set up an Islamic state in Uzbekistan. Russian-supplied aircraft have been used by the Uzbeks in raids against IMU fighters in Kyrgyzstan at the request of the Kyrgyz government.
Russians form the bulk of a CIS force in Tajikistan, bordering Afghanistan, which has for years monitored a peace process between the neo-communist government and Islamic former rebels.
Russia has kept soldiers in Tajikistan since 1992, on the ground that its national security was threatened by the Islamic rebels who were making cross-border incursions from inside Afghanistan.
Liam Neeson's Downton dreams
Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage
Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour
- 2 Scottish referendum results: David Cameron set to unveil major devolution of powers to England
- 3 iOS 8 is full of shiny new features - but it's terrible news for app developers
- 4 Scottish independence: Tory revolt against 'devo max' grows as Rail Minister Claire Perry joins
- 5 Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
Scottish independence results live: Reunited kingdom - Scotland gives a clear 'No' in historic referendum
Scottish referendum results: David Cameron set to unveil major devolution of powers to England
Iranian blogger found guilty of insulting Prophet Mohammad on Facebook sentenced to death
Scottish independence: YouGov final prediction puts No campaign 8 points ahead - but Yes team remains optimistic
Scottish independence: Tory revolt against 'devo max' grows as Rail Minister Claire Perry joins
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: The Queen breaks silence on referendum debate – as think tank warns of £14bn black hole if Scotland votes Yes
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
£7 - £8 per hour: Randstad Education Cheshire: The Job:School Science Technici...
£50 - £60 per day: Randstad Education Preston: Long term SIMS School Administr...
£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Nursery assistants re...
£120 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you a qualified teache...