"In the 1990s, wars and political instability provided an opportunity for Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups to infiltrate the Balkans. However, U.S. and European peacekeeping troops, aid, and the prospect of Euro-Atlantic integration have helped to bring more stability to the region in recent years. Moreover, the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States underscored for the countries of the region the dangers of global terrorism, and resulted in increased U.S. attention and aid to fight the terrorist threat. In part as a result, many experts currently do not view the Balkans as a key region harboring or funding terrorists, in contrast to the Middle East, South Asia, Southeast Asia, and Western Europe. However, experts note that the region may play a secondary role in terrorist plans, as a transit point for terrorists, as well as for recuperation. Moreover, they agree that the region's continuing problems continue to leave it vulnerable to terrorist groups in the future. U.S. officials have cited the threat of terrorism in the Balkans as an important reason for the need for continued U.S. engagement in the region. In addition to the need to take steps to directly combat terrorist infrastructure in the region, U.S. officials say that U.S. efforts to bring stability to the region also help to fight terrorism. They note that political instability, weak political and law enforcement institutions and poverty provide a breeding ground for terrorist groups."
CRS Report for Congress, RL33012