Kyrgyzstan’s State Customs Committee apparently seeks to thwart the government’s order to return to Iran the train loaded with mostly Russian arms and ammunition, which were transiting Kyrgyzstan en route to Afghanistan. The Kyrgyz Customs Committee had impounded the cargo aboard seventeen railroad cars as contraband. The government in Bishkek then yielded to Iranian and Russian pressure and ordered the cargo returned to Iran (see the Monitor, October 15, 21). But according to yesterday’s issue of “Vecherny Bishkek,” the customs authorities insist on confiscating the cargo and refuse to release the train and its cargo, immobilized since October 10 in the southern Kyrgyz city of Osh. The local customs director has been suspended from his post–by whom it is not clear–but his and the Customs Committee’s decision stand for the time being (Vecherny Bishkek cited by Russian agencies, October 26). –VS
NAZARBAEV EVOKES GRASS-ROOTS SUPPORT.