Tajikistan’s most wanted militant leader, Abdullo Rahimov (more widely known as Mullo Abdullo) was killed in the Rasht Valley on April 14. According to the Tajik Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) spokesman Mahmadullo Asadulloev, Mullo Abdullo and 14 of his followers were killed by Tajik security forces in the village of Samsolik in Nurobod district.
Tajik authorities believe that Mullo Abdullo was behind the September 19, 2010 attack on a government military convoy near the Kamarob Gorge in the Rasht Valley in which 28 soldiers died. Another militant leader who had allegedly assisted Mullo Abdullo in organizing the deadly assault, Alovuddin Davlatov (aka Ali Bedaki) was recently killed by government forces in a controversial operation.
Less than two months after reporting that militant commander Alovuddin Davlatov (more commonly known as Ali Bedaki or Bedak) was killed in battle, Tajik security agencies are confronted with a video that allegedly undermines the official account of the rebel’s death. The four-minute mobile phone video circulating in Tajikistan and posted on YouTube shows uniformed men, supposedly members of Tajik law enforcement agencies, questioning a bearded man whom they address as Ali Bedaki. The latter sits half-naked in the back seat of a car, with a gun pointed at him, and appears very humiliated.
An interrogator in combat fatigue questions Ali Bedaki about the assault on a government military convoy in the Kamarob gorge in Rasht valley which occurred on September 19, 2010. The assault left 28 soldiers dead and many wounded, becoming the deadliest attack on government forces since the end of the civil war in the country. The Tajik defense ministry and law enforcement agencies blamed the attack on Ali Bedaki and Abdullo Rahimov (aka Mullo Abdullo), who had been prominent Islamic opposition commanders in the 1990s. The day after the assault, state-run television channels aired a “confession” of a detained Islamic Revival Party (IRPT) activist, asserting that his brother, Ali Bedaki, was behind the attack. The televised confession also included claims that Bedaki headed a “terrorist group” of about 100 militants, including foreign mercenaries, created a “terrorist camp” and was producing improvised explosive devices (IEDs) for terrorist attacks in Tajikistan.
On September 22, the Tajik army and law enforcement agencies began a massive security operation in the Rasht valley in the country’s east. The operation reportedly targets former United Tajik Opposition (UTO) rebels and “foreign mercenaries” who were behind the deadly assault on government forces three days earlier. The UTO was a loose alliance of Islamic and democratic activists that opposed the government of President Emomali Rahmon in the country’s 1992-1997 civil war. The Rasht valley with its rough terrain and strong Islamic traditions served as a UTO stronghold during the war.
23 soldiers were killed and many more critically wounded when a group of military vehicles was ambushed in the Kamarob gorge in Rasht valley on September 19. Another five soldiers died in hospital from the wounds they received in what appears to be the deadliest attack against government forces since the end of the civil war.
On September 19, 23 soldiers were killed and 15 wounded as a convoy of military vehicles passing through the increasingly volatile Rasht valley in eastern Tajikistan was ambushed by “heavily armed gunmen.” Another eight soldiers died later of the wounds they sustained in the assault (www.regnum.ru, September 23). The ambush became the deadliest in a series of recent security incidents in the country. It also highlighted the Rasht valley, an Islamic opposition stronghold during the Tajik civil war in 1992-1997, which has recently reemerged as a major security issue facing President Emomali Rahmon’s administration.
The Tajik defense ministry has blamed the assault on “Islamic militants” led by former United Tajik Opposition (UTO) rebels (www.avesta.tj, September 20). UTO was a coalition of Islamic and democratic forces that fought against the government of President Rahmon in the civil war in Tajikistan.
Tajikistan faces a deteriorating security situation following the escape of 25 high-profile prisoners from a detention center in Dushanbe run by the State Committee for National Security (GKNB) on August 23. The convicts escaped less than one week after they had been sentenced to lengthy terms in prison on charges related to terrorism and drug trafficking. Some of the escapees reportedly have ties with the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), designated by the US State Department as a terrorist group, and rebel militants in Russia’s North Caucasus republics (www.asiaplus.tj, http://www.khovar.tj, August 23).
According to the justice ministry, the escape occurred due to the “negligence” of GKNB guards. The ministry claims that an inmate, former Guantanamo detainee, Ibrohim Nasriddinov, killed one of three guards at the detention center, seized another two guards and opened all the cells. Afterwards, the 25 convicts stole firearms and escaped, killing another four guards (Nigoh, September 2).