State Department’s Country Reports on Terrorism

Albania

Albania contributed troops to both Afghanistan and Iraq, froze bank accounts related to money laundering and terrorism financing, and worked with the U.S. and other countries to combat terrorism. Albania made progress in identifying vulnerabilities at land and sea borders, but the government and police forces faced substantial challenges to fully enforce border security and combat organized crime and corruption. 

In May, Albania granted political asylum to five Guantanamo Bay detainees, after the U.S. determined they were no longer considered enemy combatants. In November, Albania admitted an additional three former detainees who were designated for release. Albania has publicly committed to maintaining its presence in Iraq as long as required, and has a contingent of around 120 soldiers operating in the country. In Afghanistan, Albania deployed 26 troops to ISAF, including four members of a joint medical unit. 

Although no new groups’ assets were frozen this year under the Terrorism Financing Freeze (TFF) law enacted in 2004, the Albanian government found an additional seven holdings by already identified groups that were subsequently frozen. While the Albanian State Intelligence Service (SHISH) is the foremost counterterrorism unit within the Albanian government, much of their success went unnoticed due to the clandestine nature of their work. We note that the effectiveness of the government’s counterterrorist financing efforts was hampered by inadequate financial resources, poor communications, a lack of data processing infrastructure, and the lack of experienced personnel due to frequent turnover. 

Serbia

Serbia was eager to cooperate with the United States on a wide range of issues including border security, information sharing, antiterrorism financing, and export control. Internally, the Serbian government consistently demonstrated a strong commitment to counterterror operations. Serbia and the United States signed an agreement on countering proliferation of weapons of mass destruction; the agreement was provisionally in force upon signature and awaited ratification by the Serbian parliament. While still largely complacent about the prospect of an attack in Serbia by international terrorists, Belgrade officials were significantly concerned about the potential for an increase of Middle Eastern terrorist transit through Serbia. 

Kosovo 

Kosovo’s counterterrorism efforts were hampered by porous boundary lines easily crossed by individuals trafficking in people or goods. The Kosovo border police service is new and lacks basic equipment: Underpaid border and customs officials were often easily corrupted. While NATO has roving teams patrolling the green border right up to the border and administrative boundary lines, terrorists could exploit numerous passable roads leading into Kosovo. 

The United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) continued to administer Kosovo pursuant to UN Security Council Resolution 1244, and to monitor suspected terrorist activity with the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government (PISG). The Provisional Institutions and UNMIK monitored NGOs suspected of funding Islamic extremist and Albanian extremist movements. Officials believed only several of the more than 400 NGOs operating in Kosovo were involved in suspicious activities, and sought to prevent extremists from using NGOs to gain a foothold in Kosovo. Consequently, municipalities authorized NGO use of public facilities for religious gatherings only if the relevant religious community consented. The Kosovo Islamic Community (KIC) reported that it evaluated about 20 applications of mostly foreign NGOs and rejected four due to reservations about their proposed programs and participants. 

The UNMIK Police’s Counterterrorism Task Force (CTTF) is primarily responsible for Kosovo’s counterterrorism efforts, and reported that its objectives shifted in 2006 from reactive to preventive measures. It received information and analysis support from the UNMIK Central Intelligence Unit (CIU) and the UNMIK Police Intelligence Liaison Unit (ILU). In October, with UNMIK Police’s support and guidance, the Kosovo Police Service established its own Counterterrorism Unit (CTU), with six officers. 

While there were no new terrorism cases, UNMIK’s Department of Justice (DOJ) reported that intimidation of witnesses during investigation and trial phases hampered ongoing terror prosecutions. According to UNMIK’s DOJ, a weak domestic witness protection program and the absence of witness relocation agreements to places outside of Kosovo made it difficult to convince witnesses to come forward. Moreover, international officials still handled terrorism cases due to concerns that local officials could be susceptible to intimidation. 

While Kosovo officials struggled to bring the perpetrators of terrorist acts to justice, domestic extremists, acting individually and in groups, continued to commit violence, sometimes directed towards local government institutions and UN facilities. Approximately 15 attacks by such groups or individuals occurred and included use of hand grenades, rocket propelled grenades, explosive devices, and shots fired. There were a few fatalities and injuries as a result of these attacks. In early December, groups of armed, masked men reportedly presenting themselves as members of the Albanian National Army (AKSH), intermittently stopped pedestrians and vehicles in western Kosovo to check their identification documents. On December 5, the masked men fired at Kosovo Police Service officers in the village of Gercine near Gjakove. AKSH’s Tirana-based spokesman, Gafurr Adili, told Kosovo media that these groups were not affiliated with the AKSH. 

Source: Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism -State Department-

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