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China’s rise and Central Asia’s security

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In May 2015, the former head of the Tajik special forces Gulmurod Khalimov announced his defection to the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) on YouTube and threatened to “bring slaughter” to Tajikistan. In September of the same year, several hundred Taliban fighters seized the northern Afghan city of Kunduz, freed prisoners and destroyed vital government infrastructure. And in March 2016, a suicide attack by Sunni extremist group Jamaat-ul-Ahrar killed 70 people in Lahore, Pakistan. These three events underpin growing international worries over the recent rise of militarism in greater Central Asia.