Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 234

The Tajik government claimed yesterday that the ceasefire signed with the opposition on December 11 (see Monitor, December 12) was finally taking hold. On December 12-14 the opposition had continued attacking government units still trapped in Garm and Labijar. It had also captured government armor near Komsomolabad, and in a bold foray outside Tavildara, had seized gold fields just abandoned by the government and a British company in Hovaling district. Russia’s visiting Defense Council chief Yuri Baturin and the Tajik government implied in public statements that they were prepared to overlook the opposition’s alleged violations of the ceasefire in order to avoid jeopardizing the meeting between Tajik president Imomali Rahmonov and opposition chairman Saidabdullo Nuri, scheduled for December 19 in Moscow.

The government was also challenged from three directions by disgruntled former allies. Popular Front fighters from Kurgan-Tube in the south, who originally helped Rahmonov to power, held a rally to demand the release of a field commander arrested by Dushanbe. Warlord Ibod Boimatov, who controls the Uzbek-inhabited Tursunzade area in the west, turned down government overtures and was officially declared a criminal by Rahmonov over the weekend. Former prime minister Abdumalik Abdulajonov, chairman of the National Revival bloc that speaks for Leninabad region in the north — Tajikistan’s most developed and populous, and sulking under the rule of Rahmonov’s Kulob clan — warned that it will not recognize agreements reached at the December 19 Moscow meeting unless Moscow and Dushanbe rescind their refusal to admit the bloc as a third party to the talks. The opposition has supported the bloc’s position. (Interfax, Itar-Tass, Voice of Free Tajikistan, Western agencies, December 12-15)

United Tajik Opposition first vice chairman Akbar Turajonzoda over the weekend virtually disavowed the ceasefire agreement’s provisions that require the opposition to withdraw from areas seized since September. Turanjozoda obliquely criticized Nuri for consenting to those provisions in his agreement with Rahmonov. (Interviews to Radio Liberty, December 12, and Nezavisimaya gazeta, December 15)

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