Tajik Region Bordering Afghanistan Descending into Chaos and Violence
September 25 – Tajikistan’s Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast, which adjoins
Afghanistan, is descending into chaos, with Dushanbe’s demand that the
population turn in its weapons leading to clashes between the estimated 7500
Tajik soldiers there and the local population.
region has long been among the most restive in that Central Asian republic, but
the situation has deteriorated over the last two weeks following a visit to
Khorog, the oblast’s capital, by the country’s president, Emomali Rakhmon, who
denounced local officials for failing to put things in order (fergananews.com/articles/10192).
threatened to purge the local officials if they did not disarm the population,
a purge that has already begun, and said he would send in the army to do so if
the officials did not. He also denounced the local establishment for allowing
the free flow of drugs through the region and for failing to counter the spread
Dzhamshid, the head of the autonomy, said that everything would be put in order
over the next month; but officials are not likely to act until the CIS summit
in Dushanbe concludes two days from now lest Rakhmon be embarrassed. But after
that, the situation could really get out of hand.
was a center of resistance to the central government during the civil war in
the 1990s, and twice in recent years, in 2012 and 2014, Dushanbe has sought to
bring its population to heel by sending in troops. But both geography – the mountains
and neighboring Afghanistan – extreme poverty alleviated only by crime have
prevented that from happening.
and fears have been growing in recent months, the Fergana news agency reports;
and it says that “there have already been clashes between the military and the
local population” which fears the army will try to take away its weapons.“The slightest occasion could provoke a major
conflict,” the agency says.
one occurs, the Tajik military might not be able to control the situation; and
in that event, Dushanbe might ask Russian forces already in Tajikistan to help
lest this border region explode and open the way for the spread of violence
from Afghanistan into Tajikistan and beyond.