Publication: Monitor Volume: 1 Issue: 112

Russian Foreign Ministry chief spokesman Grigorii Karasin made public a ministry statement in connection with the October 10 attack by the Tajik resistance which killed seven Russian soldiers. Blaming the attack on the Islamic Revival Movement (the main political party in the resistance coalition), the statement accused the resistance of trying to seize power in Tajikistan primarily in order to turn it into a source of drug production and transit corridor for drugs from other Asian countries to the West. Terming the resistance "criminal" and "anti-national" for its plans, the statement said that Russian troops in Tajikistan "shield" Europe from the drug flow. On the same day Islamic Revival Movement chairman Saidabdullo Nuri made public a message accusing the Dushanbe authorities of blocking the fifth round of negotiations with the opposition, preventing the return of refugees, and "bringing war near" by increasing its troop deployment in Badakhshan region in violation of the cease-fire agreement. (18)

Moscow officials often seek to portray the Russian military presence in Tajikistan as beneficial to the West on two counts: containing Islamic fundamentalism and suppressing drug traffic. However, Russia´s cooperation with Iran on many issues against Western interests and the Russian soldiers’ notorious involvement in the drug trade in Tajikistan throw doubt on both claims. The (often violated) cease-fire agreement mentioned by Nuri was signed in September 1994 and bars any increases in the forces deployed in the autonomous Badakhshan region near the Tajik-Afghan border. The Tajik regime has several times brought forces from the country’s interior to the border, most recently redeploying its heavily equipped 1st brigade from Kurgan-Tyube to the disputed Vakhsh valley in the Pamir foothills.

1. Interfax and Nezavisimaya Gazeta, October 11 and 12

2. Itar-Tass, October 12

3. Itar-Tass, October 12, Moskovsky komsomolets, October 11

4. Interfax, October 11

5. Interfax, October 11

6. Interfax, October 11

7. Interfax, October 11, Itar-Tass, October 12

8. Interfax, October 11

9. Itar-Tass, October 12

10. Itar-Tass, October 13

11. Itar-Tass, October 12

12. Interfax, October 12; NTV, October 11

13. Interfax-Ukraine, October 12

14. Interfax-Ukraine, October 11 and 12

15. Flux, October 11

16. BNS, October 12

17. Interfax, October 12

18. Interfax, October 12

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