Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 190

According to Dushanbe officials, leaders of the Tajik opposition, Akbar Turanjozoda and Davlat Usmon, have in recent days met with Taliban leaders in Kabul to discuss joint military action against the Tajik government in the event that the Taliban establish control of northern Afghanistan. (Interfax, October 8) The Dushanbe officials’ version echoes the concern, professed by Russian security chief Aleksandr Lebed and others, that the Taliban plan both to join forces with the Tajik opposition inside Tajikistan and, allegedly, to attack Uzbekistan in order to annex Bukhara. Tajik officials have seconded Lebed’s warnings.

But in an October 9 telephone conversation with Monitor, United Tajik Opposition (UTO) leader Akbar Turajonzoda, now in Tehran, categorically denied any intention on the part of the UTO to form a military alliance with Taliban. "Such claims could only benefit forces who want to harm the Tajik opposition. Our refugee camps are located all over Afghanistan: in Pushtun, Tajik, and Uzbek areas. Therefore, we can’t take sides in the internal Afghan conflict, and are strictly observing neutrality," said Turajonzoda. He told the Monitor that he visited Uzbekistan about a week ago, as part of an effort to maintain contact with various interested parties. Uzbekistan supports the ethnic Uzbek warlord Abdul Rasdhid Dostum in northern Afghanistan in order to hold off a possible Taliban advance into the area.

Turkmenistan Actively Seeking Export Outlets for Gas.