Staunton, Nov. 5 – In a move that may signal the central Tajikistan government intends to take a harder line in the restive Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region along the Afghan border but that may infame the situation further, Dushanbe has sacked Yedgor Fayzov, the region’s head since 2018.
President Emomali Rakhmon who appointed Faysov, 60, then has apparently decided Dushanbe needs a new man and a new approach in a region that forms nearly half of the country and has been marked by increasing instability in the wake of the Taliban victory in neighboring Afghanistan (centrasia.org/news.php?st=1636099620 and jamestown.org/program/tajikistans-pamir-region-descends-into-chaos/).
Before arriving in Khorog, Faysov had worked for many years in the Aga Khan Foundation, becoming that institution’s executive director in 2004. He thus had good contacts with the Ismaili population in the Gorno-Badakhshan and at least initially, he was prepared to meet with and discuss things with the population.
Trained as a veterinarian in Soviet times, he served as first secretary of the Gorno-Badakhshan Komsomol organization before 1991. He thus had more extensive contacts with people there than most of Dushanbe’s appointments. His ouster is thus likely to make the current situation worse, threatening regional stability in a major way.
Indeed, while the removal of a single official may not seem like much, in the overheated environment of Tajikistan since the victory of the Taliban, Faysov’s departure almost certainly means that both Russia and China will feel compelled to become even more active in the GBAO than they have been up to do (jamestown.org/program/russia-china-dividing-responsibilities-in-tajikistan-is-conflict-possible/).