Central Asia: Tajikistan In Turmoil


October 5, 2010: The last month has been a violent one in Tajikistan. On September 3rd, there was the first suicide car bombing in Tajikistan in five years. The blast, near a police station, killed three. Up to that point this year, Tajikistan had arrested about a hundred suspected Islamic terrorists. Now, a lot more arrests are being made.

Tajikistan is the poorest of the 14 nations to emerge from the rubble of the Soviet Union, and the corruption and tyranny of the current government has made Islamic law (Sharia) appealing to many Tajiks. The government has been urging parents not to send their send their sons to study in madrassas (Islamic religious schools) because such schools are a major source of recruits for Islamic radical organizations. But poverty, corruption and dictatorial rule causes many people to look to Islamic radicalism as a solution to their problems. There are also tribal differences, which led to a civil war in 1992-7. That conflict was more suppressed than settled, and there is growing fear that the civil war will revive. The 1990s rebels were dominated by Islamic radical groups. The 1,300 kilometer long border with Afghanistan has facilitated heavy traffic by drug smugglers and Islamic radicals. The drug smugglers are believed working with the Islamic terror groups, much as they do inside Afghanistan. The Islamic militants provide the muscle for the smugglers, and the smugglers provide weapons and cash.

Military patrols searching in east Tajikistan (the Rasht Valley near the Afghan border) have been finding caches of weapons and medical supplies. These are believed to belong to Islamic radical groups which are preparing to hunker down for the Winter.

In Kyrgyzstan, ethnic Uzbeks are still being harassed by police and Kyrgyz nationalist groups.

October 4, 2010: In eastern Tajikistan, police and Islamic terrorists clashed, leaving four police and six terrorists dead.

September 25, 2010: The Tajik government says they killed one of the gunmen who participated in the attack on a military convoy earlier in the month. The government said the dead man was a foreigner, but released no more information. The government is trying to blame the September 16 attack on foreigners, but has presented no proof of this

September 24, 2010: In eastern Tajikistan, three Islamic radicals were killed in a gun battle.

September 21, 2010: Tajikistan has launched a major search in the east, to find Islamic radical leaders Abdullo Rakhimov, Mirzokhudzha Akhmadov and Alovuddin Davlatov,. These three are believed behind the recent incidents of Islamic radical violence. Meanwhile, the IMU (Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan) took credit for the September 16 attack. The IMU has been in exile for years, and has long been associated with the Taliban in Afghanistan as well as al Qaeda.

September 16, 2010: In Tajikistan, someone ambushed a military convoy 180 kilometers east of the capital. The attack left 28 soldiers dead and 11 wounded. These soldiers were part of the force searching for 25 Islamic radicals who escaped from prison in August.

September 14, 2010: Kyrgyzstan and Russia have negotiated a deal that would allow Russia to use five Kyrgyz bases for another 49 years.



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