Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 87

Tajikistan’s top security officials yesterday announced a mandate from President Imomali Rahmonov to uncover "all those who carried out, organized, and commissioned" the April 30 assassination attempt against the President in Leninabad region’s capital Hojent. The officials insinuated that the attempt was perpetrated by a "third force" which had also organized last year’s antigovernment protests in that city and region. (Interfax, May 1)

These are oblique references to the opposition National Revival Front, which is headed by former prime minister Abdumalik Abdullajonov and which represents Leninabad region’s interests in opposition to the Dushanbe government. As Rahmonov’s sole opponent in the 1993 presidential election, Abdullajonov carried Leninabad region overwhelmingly; and later established the "third force" National Revival Front as a secular and nonmilitary opposition. The Front’s supporters participated in last year’s anti-government demonstrations in Leninabad region. The armed Islamic opposition, which has no foothold in Leninabad, supports the Front’s claim to be included in the negotiations on a political settlement of the civil war, a claim that has been rejected by Dushanbe. Although Abdullajonov promptly condemned the assassination attempt (see Monitor, May 1), Dushanbe may nevertheless use it as a pretext for continuing to exclude Leninabad region’s representatives from an eventual power-sharing agreement.

Uzbek president Islam Karimov’s chief spokesman yesterday warned the Dushanbe government that "it can expect a serious response from President Karimov if it points to us as being involved" in the assassination attempt. The spokesman reproachfully recalled that Rahmonov had "repeatedly accused" Tashkent of involvement in last year’s protests in and around Hojent, where a large ethnic Uzbek population resides. (Voice of Free Tajikistan, May 1)

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