Publication: Monitor Volume: 5 Issue: 34

Uzbekistan today is observing a day of mourning for the victims of the February 16 bomb attacks, which narrowly missed the country’s leadership and caused substantial damage in Tashkent (see the Monitor, February 17). The city center remains cordoned off by troops with armored vehicles, while additional security forces patrol the streets, often stopping young men for identity checks. The police have arrested at least five suspects, but have declined for the moment to disclose either their identity or the grounds of their arrests. The country is reportedly calm, and the government’s public statements seem to reflect confidence in its ability to maintain control (AP, Reuters, February 17; Xinhua, February 18).

CIS Executive Secretary Boris Berezovsky said that he thought that the bomb attacks were a “manifestation of a political struggle in Uzbekistan.” He did not elaborate on his insinuation. Berezovsky evidently smarts from Uzbekistan’s withdrawal from the CIS Collective Security Treaty and President Islam Karimov’s outspoken criticism of the CIS during Berezovsky’s recent visit to Tashkent (Itar-Tass, February 17).

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