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Corruption Hindering Albania’s War on Terror, US Says

3 May 2014

The 2013 US State Department Report on terrorism underlines that despite the political will of the Albanian government, corruption is thwarting an effective fight against terrorism.

Besar Likmeta BIRNTirana

“While Albania has the political will to cooperate with countries in the region on counterterrorism initiatives, it lacked the capacity to implement effective controls,” the US State Department said.

“Corruption coupled with a poorly functioning judicial system continued to hinder Albanian efforts in law enforcement,” the report added.

The State Department notes that Tirana does not have the capacity to collect biometric data other than that contained on biometric identity cards presented at border crossing points.

Meanwhile, fingerprint data from illegal migrants is collected, but not all border control points are equipped with live scanners, resulting in a delay in fingerprints being included in electronic databases or identification of individuals based on fingerprint data.

According to the US State Department, Albanian government institutions have been aware since 2012 that a small group of Albanians has traveled to fight in Syria.

Eight people, including two radical imams, were arrested in Albania in March, suspected of recruiting Albanian jihadists to join militant groups in Syria.

The International Center for the Study of Radicalization, ISRA, a think tank based in King’s College, London, believes some 300 Albanian fighters, from Kosovo, Macedonia and Albania, have joined groups linked to al-Qaeda in Syria, including Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, or ISIS.

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