On February 26, the UN Secretary General’s special envoy for Tajikistan, Jan Kubis, expressed “deep concern about the crisis of confidence” between that government and its opposition. Kubis singled out the refusal of opposition forces in Tavildara and Karategin to disarm–and even their proposals that the opposition break negotiations with the government–as a result of President Imomali Rahmonov’s failure to implement the political side of the peace agreement and his refusal to appoint opposition commander Mirzo Zio as defense minister.
Also on February 26, a Russian soldier of the 201st motor-rifle division was shot dead by Tajik presidential guards while trying to break into the presidential palace. The Russian soldier, possibly on drugs or drunk, failed to heed the palace guards’ warning shots. On February 27, a senior prosecutor of the Tursunzoda district, which is located in the Uzbek-inhabited northwestern region, was kidnapped in broad daylight in central Dushanbe by unidentified gunmen. The northwestern region remains restive in the wake of the November 1998 rebellion (Itar-Tass, February 26-28; see the Monitor, January 26, 28 and February 1, 3).
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