Will Tajikistan’s Restive East Explode Again?

Posted: October 6, 2012 in Confrontation, Economy and Resources, Environment, Geography, Health, History, Human Rights, International

The rugged eastern region of Gorno-Badakhshan in Tajikistan has been the scene of violence in recent months, with about 70 people having been killed in a government operation lasting to late August.

As President Emomali Rahmon arrives for a working visit, many questions remain as to how the violence started, and more importantly, who was behind it.

The violence began after an opposition leader from the 1990s Tajik Civil War who had become a top regional security official, Abdullo Nazarov, was stabbed to death on July 21. After protests erupted the next day, 3,000 government troops were deployed to the region on July 24.

After a week of fighting, those resisting the government forces agreed to lay down their arms on July 28 following negotiations that included representatives of the Aga Khan, the spiritual leader of the Ismaili sect of Islam. A majority of the region’s population of 250,000 belong to the Shi’ite Muslim sect, while the rest of the country is mostly Sunni.

The situation appeared calm until late on August 22, when Imomnazar Imomnazarov, another former opposition civil war commander, was killed in an early-morning attack at his home in Khorugh, the Badakhshan region’s administrative capital. Imomnazarov had been wanted in connection with Nazarov’s killing. He reportedly had diabetes and was confined to a wheelchair.

Protesters gathered at the regional administrative building in Khorugh to demand officials fulfill promises to restore order, pelting the building with rocks and even attempting to storm the building.

On August 24, again after negotiations involving representatives of the Aga Khan, government forces announced they would withdraw from the Gorno-Badakhshan region completely.

Will Tajikistan’s Restive East Explode Again?.

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