A Tajik journalist and critic of the regime is in hospital after being stabbed in Moscow.
The netizens in Tajikistan have little doubt that the attack on the journalist was politically motivated and that it was a taste of things to come in the months leading to presidential elections due in November. Read on Global Voices Online >>
On October 5, the Russian and Tajik defense ministers signed an agreement that extended Russia’s lease of a large army base in the Central Asian country for another 29 years. With the current lease expiring at the end of 2013, the deal guarantees Moscow a continuation of its military presence in Tajikistan until at least 2042. Under the new agreement, Tajikistan will continue hosting Russia’s largest ground force deployed abroad for free. The roughly 7,000 military personnel serving at the base as well as their families will be granted immunity from legal prosecution in the country.
BACKGROUND: The deal was signed during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Dushanbe, ending a lengthy period of negotiation and heated debates. Moscow and Dushanbe initially announced their intention to extend the presence of Russian troops in Tajikistan in September 2011. Shortly afterwards, however, it became apparent that the two countries had major disagreements on the terms of the new base deal. Dushanbe reportedly insisted that Russia should pay rent, while Moscow was keen on using the strategically important base free of charge. Dushanbe also resented a 49-year lease deal pushed by Moscow, proposing instead a shorter term arrangement.
The agreements inked during Putin’s visit to Tajikistan are designed to satisfy both countries. Russia has secured an extension of its basing rights in Tajikistan on very favorable conditions. Over the next three decades, Moscow will only pay a “symbolic sum” for stationing its troops in the strategically located Central Asian country. Continue reading
RFE/RL interview with Muhammadboqir Muhammadboqirov, one of the “unofficial leaders” of Khorog targeted by the recent military operation in eastern Tajikistan. September 13, 2012.
Translation by eTajikistan, from the original article in Tajik.
Triggered by the murder of a senior security official, a conflict has recently erupted between government forces and former warlords in eastern Tajikistan. Although many different factors might have played into the government’s decision to order the military operation, at its core the intrusion aimed at completing the regime’s long-term agenda of eradicating former opposition commanders. By ordering the military operation in GBAO, the central government has demonstrated that it will no longer permit former opposition commanders or any other groups or individuals to rival the power of state organs in the country.
BACKGROUND: On July 24, the government of Tajikistan sent special-purpose police units and army troops into Khorog, the capital of the Mountainous Badakhshan Autonomous Province (commonly known by its Russian acronym GBAO), in the country’s east. Hundreds of troops supported by helicopter gunships and armoured vehicles marched into the town on the border with Afghanistan, cutting it off from the rest of the country. Landline, mobile, and internet connections to the isolated region were disconnected.
Officially the offensive was ordered to capture four local strongmen accused by the government of involvement in the killing of Major-General Abdullo Nazarov, the head of the provincial branch of the State Committee on National Security (GKNB, formerly the KGB), on July 21. The authorities claim that the main perpetrator of the general’s death was his subordinate within the regional GKNB branch, Colonel Tolib Ayombekov, who had served as deputy head of a border post on the frontier with Afghanistan. Ayombekov denied the charge. Nevertheless, following the general’s death, the government demanded that Ayombekov and three other local strongmen – Imomnazar Imomnazarov, Mamadboqir Mamadboqirov and Yodgor Shomusallamov – turn themselves in to the police. At the same time, the authorities publicly accused the four individuals of being involved in the smuggling of narcotics, tobacco, and gemstones, and also in human trafficking and banditry.
Abdullo Sa’dulloevich Nazarov, an outspoken one-star general in Tajikistan’s State Committee for National Security (GKNB) – successor to the Soviet-era KGB – was killed [ru] on July 21, 2012, in Ishkashim district, part of the eastern region of GBAO (aka Badakhshan or Gorno-Badakhshan). Since May 2010, Nazarov served as head of GKNB’s office in GBAO, the mountainous region that borders northern Afghanistan, southwestern China, and southern Kyrgyzstan. The job was a demotion for the general who had previously served as deputy chairman of the GKNB for counterterrorism.
Abdullo Nazarov. Image by Radio Ozodi.
According to what scarce details are now available, the general was killed as he drove in a car from Ishkashim to Khorugh (aka Khorog), the capital of GBAO. Nazarov’s car was reportedly stopped by unidentified assailants who stabbed the general with knives. Two personnel from the ‘Alpha Group’ – the GKNB’s Special Forces battalion - accompanied Nazarov during the trip to provide protection. It is unclear at the moment whether they were killed too.