Category Archives: Crime

Journalist’s Stabbing a ‘Warning’ for Tajik Opposition

A Tajik journalist and critic of the regime is in hospital after being stabbed in Moscow.

sattori-299x300The 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 >>


Leave a comment

Filed under Crime, Media, Politics, Tajikistan

Explaining the Conflict in Eastern Tajikistan

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.
Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Crime, Politics, Security, Tajikistan

Senior National Security Official Killed in Tajikistan

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.
Continue reading


Filed under Crime, Security, Tajikistan

Tajik Authorities Combat High-Level Corruption and Narcotics Trafficking

Authorities in Tajikistan have recently announced a number of high-profile arrests on corruption and narcotics-trafficking charges. Most arrests were triggered by President Emomali Rahmon’s harsh criticism of the “corrupt” and “nepotistic” practices in the country’s military and law-enforcement sectors. During a televised government meeting on January 18, the Tajik leader lashed out at “commanders of military units and top officials from the Ministry of Internal Affairs [MIA] and State Committee for National Security [GKNB],” for granting privileges to their children and relatives (TV Shabakai Yakum, January 19).

Rahmon specifically warned officials against exempting their offspring from possible prosecution, including through the use of “special” car number plates. Such plates have long been used by the Tajik elites as markers of power and wealth, effectively making their owners immune from police checks (, June 13, 2011). The “golden” numbers, such as “7777” and “8888,” have been reserved for the members of Rahmon’s family until, in early January, Tajik security agencies arrested two traffickers who attempted to smuggle almost 110 kilograms of drugs from the Afghan border to Dushanbe in a car with a “golden” number plate. Although the names of the arrested individuals have not been released, authorities announced that one of them is a son of a “retired general” and another one is a child of a “Tajik diplomat” (, January 27).

This incident has led Rahmon to claim that children of senior government officials are frequently involved in criminal dealings, while ordinary people see the “special” number plates and attribute these crimes to “the president’s relatives.” Following the incident, authorities detained a person who had allegedly produced and sold “fake golden numbers” in Dushanbe. Besides, police were ordered to replace all “golden” number plates with the regular ones (, January 14, 16, 19).
Continue reading


Filed under Crime, Drugs, Justice, Nepotism, Police corruption, Tajikistan

Tajik Security Agencies Face Allegations of Detainee Abuse and Extrajudicial Killings

A number of events in 2011 reinforce allegations of systemic abuse and torture and even the occurrence of possible extrajudicial killings in detention by law enforcement agencies in Tajikistan. On October 20, police in the Tajik capital, Dushanbe, took a badly injured Bahromiddin Shodiyev, 28, to a local hospital. Shodiyev, who had been arrested on the previous day in connection with a theft investigation, died ten days later of head wounds. The police attributed Shodiyev’s injuries while in custody to an attempted escape or suicide, claiming that he jumped from a first-floor window, but also alleged that he died not necessarily as a result of his injuries, but due to “multiple diseases of internal organs” (, November 1).

Shodiyev’s relatives insist on a different explanation of his death. According to his mother, he told her in the hospital that he was beaten and given electric shocks at the hands of the police, until he confessed to a crime he had not committed. Following the incident, the Tajik human rights ombudsman and an anti-torture group called on the authorities to investigate Shodiyev’s death. The growing publicity about the case led the authorities to launch an investigation as a result of which several police officers were dismissed; one facing criminal charges (, November 9, 15).

Analysts and human rights groups claim that what happened to Shodiyev is not an isolated incident, but part of a larger pattern of abuse in detention by police and security forces. In March, another detainee, Safarali Sangov, died in a Dushanbe hospital in almost identical circumstances. He was hospitalized several hours after being detained on drug-related charges. While police claimed that Sangov tried to commit suicide by hitting his head against a wall and jumping from a police station window, his relatives insisted that he died of police brutality (Asia-Plus, March 7). Also, in June, Ismoil Bachajonov, who was accused of drug smuggling, died in mysterious circumstances in a pre-trial facility in Dushanbe (Asia-Plus, June 9), while two minors were allegedly heavily beaten by police in the southern town of Kulob. In addition, a BBC reporter, Urunboi Usmonov, held for a month by the police in Khujand, was allegedly tortured to extract a confession (, August 13).
Continue reading


Filed under Crime, Detainee abuse, Human Rights, Police corruption, Tajikistan