The Opposition leadership has made a significant concession regarding security arrangements for its representatives on the National Reconciliation Commission. It agreed to reduce initially its protection unit, due to be introduced in Dushanbe, to approximately half of the 460 men stipulated by the protocol on security guarantees; a decision on the other half is being deferred. The unit is to arrive in the capital unarmed and is to be subsequently incorporated into the Defense Ministry, government officials said. The Opposition delegates and the security escort will all be housed in two buildings prepared by the government. Opposition chief of staff Davlat Usmon said in Dushanbe that the concessions are intended to speed up the beginning of the commission’s work. Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokesman welcomed the Opposition’s step.
Field commander Rahmon Sanginov’s detachment yesterday attacked the Tajik internal troops’ building in the district center Kofarnihon, killing three troopers, wounding at least 10, and capturing three. The attack was a response to the previous day’s arrest of three of his men by the internal troops. The town is situated only 20 kilometers east of Dushanbe, and Sanginov’s base is in several villages only some 10 to 15 kilometers from the capital. He does not always take orders from the United Opposition leadership and the latter disavowed yesterday’s action. (Russian and Western agencies, August 20-21)
Col. Mahmud Hudoberdiev and Yakubjon Salimov, leaders of the mutiny that pitted two regime factions against the central government, are reported to be still at large with a small number of armed supporters after their recent defeat (see Monitor, August 18-20). Their failure removes from center stage at least temporarily two of country’s most powerful and colorful warlords. Hudoberdiev, an ethnic Uzbek, commanded the army’s strongest unit — the armored brigade — with which he staged three mutinies in the space of two years against his nominal commander, President Imomali Rahmonov. Hudoberdiev negotiated his return to barracks in return for lucrative appointments for his clan and access to economic assets. He and his faction achieved control of part of Tajikistan’s cotton sector and of the country’s chief industrial asset — the Tursunzade aluminum plant.
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