The Tajik army’s 1st and 11th brigades deployed around Kurgan-Tyube appear far from having made peace with each other. Official figures say that last month’s fighting left at least 30 soldiers dead on both sides. Independent estimates are much higher. Tajikistan’s defense, internal affairs, and security ministries have sent forces to Kurgan-Tyube to separate the two brigades, and have launched criminal investigations. But when the authorities attempted to arrest one commander believed responsible for the worst clashes, an armored group loyal to him left its station on the Afghan border and rushed to the commander’s aid. Meanwhile both brigades and armed supporters in their respective areas of deployment appear poised for continuing confrontation. (14)
The brigades were formed from Popular Front paramilitary units which ensured the success of pro-Moscow forces in Khatlon region in the 1992 civil war. They have since become rivals for control of the local economy, including the cotton and oil refining sectors. Both units also have local civilian support based on clan interests.
Duma Leaders Chart Pan-Russian Group’s Agenda.