Concerning the latest video: references to natives of Kazakhstanoperating in Syria and Iraq have been made before. Over the year and a half since the first videos were put on the Internet, four clips involving natives of Kazakhstan have appeared.
The number of such videos with people from other countries exceeds the hundreds, if not the thousands. Compared to them, Kazakhstan’s natives are mentioned far less frequently.
The goal of all these propaganda videos is to attract new followers. Despite the commonly held feeling that the number of insurgents from Kazakhstan in Syria is increasing, in recent months the flow of potential supporters from Central Asia, particularly Kazakhstan, actually has been on the decrease.
The decrease is a result of the systematic work of security services, who were able to organise a fairly good counter-propaganda effort. Therefore, in reaction, recruiters are trying to change their tools and approaches to their propaganda activity.
To diversify the plot and affect the feelings of the potential audience, this time they used children. I have written previously that, conducting our research in the summer, we recorded a few facts of the existence of children training camps under some terrorist groups. The children were from various countries of Europe, the Middle East and Central Asia.
Most likely, as with any military activity, parents of these children, particularly their fathers, have died. As a result, children are left orphaned or separated from their mothers, and then sent to training camps for children, where they are being trained to become live bombs.
The latest video, however, somehow worked against the radicals. In the Kazakh tradition, culture and worldview, children are the main meaning of life, its main value. That’s why, judging by the reaction on social networks, the video has drawn condemnation, thus showing the absolute rejection on the part of our people of such action. But this is certainly not a reason to be complacent. On the contrary, we should become more decisive and take systemic measures to counter radical ideology.
By the way, the latest video was reposted with the assistance of some sources in the United States, who once played the role of information agents for the Soldiers of the Caliphate (Jund al Khalifa), a terrorist group comprised of citizens of Kazakhstan, spreading their videos and materials through media. Had these sources not provided such informational support, sponsors of the group would have stopped funding them after a month or two.
The author is the director of the Kazakhstan Institute of Strategic Studies and the author, most recently, of “Our People in a Foreign War.”