A ceasefire agreement, reflecting major gains by the opposition, went into effect yesterday in Tajikistan’s Garm area, the main theater of military action in this war. Negotiated at the scene by Dushanbe’s Security Council chief, Amirkul Azimov, with opposition commander Mirzohoja, the agreement provides that both sides will ensure security on the country’s sole east-west highway, which crosses Garm. Government forces are to dismantle their checkpoints. In return, the opposition promises not to install its own checkpoints along a 180 kilometers-long stretch of the highway. On a key 30 kilometers-long stretch the sides will each be entitled to two checkpoints. The agreement follows the opposition’s recent capture of Jirgatal and Tajikabad districts and parts of Komsomolabad and Fayzabad districts, which are astride the vital highway.
Part of the area gained by the opposition is situated along the Kyrgyz border and is inhabited by ethnic Kyrgyz. United Tajik opposition leader Saidabdullo Nuri has assured Kyrgyz president Askar Akayev in a message that the opposition will respect the border and not introduce any legal changes — apparently meaning Islamic law — in the area. (Interfax, Itar-Tass, September 16 and 17; Voice of Free Tajikistan, September 14, 15, and 17)
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