In a statement issued yesterday, the Dushanbe government charged that the United Tajik Opposition is either unable to control its own armed units or "insincere when claiming that it wants peace." Citing recent cases of harassment of government forces by opposition units, the government warned that it would "forcibly disarm those unlawful detachments" unless the UTO "takes urgent and effective measures to stop their actions." In the latest and most serious incident, at least five Internal Affairs Ministry troopers were killed yesterday by unidentified attackers on the main east-west highway, some 70 kilometers east of Dushanbe. (Russian agencies, March 18)
The Presidential Guard commander recently complained that opposition forces are pressuring and disarming Internal Affairs troops in several mountainous areas with impunity. (See Monitor, March 16 and 17) Adding insult to injury, opposition fighters sometimes beat up the unresisting troops before allowing them to withdraw. The government’s better troops, such as the Presidential Guard, have not retaliated thus far.
The government hopes to pressure the UTO leadership into ordering some of its units to disarm others, thereby sparking clashes among them. Such a development would enable the government to restore control in areas it has practically lost to the opposition. It would, moreover, remove any pressure on the government to observe its commitments under the political agreements with the UTO.
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The Monitor is a publication of the Jamestown Foundation. It is researched and written under the direction of senior analysts Jonas Bernstein, Vladimir Socor, Stephen Foye, and analysts Ilya Malyakin, Oleg Varfolomeyev and Ilias Bogatyrev. If you have any questions regarding the content of the Monitor, please contact the foundation. If you would like information on subscribing to the Monitor, or have any comments, suggestions or questions, please contact us by e-mail at [email protected], by fax at 301-562-8021, or by postal mail at The Jamestown Foundation, 4516 43rd Street NW, Washington DC 20016. Unauthorized reproduction or redistribution of the Monitor is strictly prohibited by law. Copyright (c) 1983-2002 The Jamestown Foundation Site Maintenance by Johnny Flash Productions