This region, originally settled around 500 BC, is a powder keg of Islamic terrorism, a haven for rebels who have fought beside the Taliban in Afghanistan and al Qaeda in Waziristan. Located at the confluence of Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan, the Ferghana is a roiling mass of 11 million people, the largest population center of Central Asia. Numerous recent uprisings have resulted in deadly clashes between rebels and government forces, fleeing refugees, humanitarian crises, and spiraling political conflict. Last year, ethnic violence in the valley spurred the overthrow of the Kyrgyz government. The Islamic Jihad Union and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan are strong here, cooperating in the pan-Islamic terrorist effort.mapfergana