The fighting stopped yesterday in central Tajikistan following intercession by government and opposition representatives, UN military observers and diplomats of the Contact Group countries mandated to oversee the implementation of the peace agreements. From a military point of view, the success of opposition detachments was even more complete than it had initially appeared. The guerrillas routed not only an Internal Affairs unit but also a Tajik army unit on its base near Rogun, capturing at least fifty soldiers they soon released. Other government soldiers deserted during the battle, in a pattern familiar since the last stages of the civil war. Following the battle, the sides exchanged the remains of those killed and agreed to relocate to their respective initial positions. The agreement — if carried out — represents a success for the opposition detachments that had intervened to defend their territorial turf against encroachments by government troops. Opposition leader Saidabdullo Nuri won praise for interceding to stop the fighting. (Russian and Western agencies, March 25; see Monitor, March 25)
From a political standpoint, the battle dramatizes the difficulties in implementing the 1997 peace agreements. The government wants to accelerate the military track while the opposition focuses on the political track of those agreements.
Kyrgyzstan Changes Prime Ministers.