TENSIONS SMOLDER IN TAJIKISTAN.

Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 116

A series of incidents this week underscored the fragility of the cease-fire in Tajikistan and cast fresh doubt on the viability of the draft political agreement due to be signed on June 27 in Moscow. The deputy commander in chief of Tajik opposition forces in Badahshan Autonomous Region, Alimardon Shohabdulloev, was killed by a remote-control bomb in the region’s center, Horog, after meeting with government officials there. A duality of power exists in that vast eastern region, with neither the government nor the opposition able to exercise real military or political control. In the north-central district of Komsomolabad, largely controlled by the opposition, the Presidential Guard detained a group of fighters from a detachment led by the well-known commander, Mullo Abdullo. The move, in violation of the cease-fire, has increased the number of opposition supporters still held by the government despite the cease-fire agreement’s requirement that they be released.

In one of the bloodiest clashes of the war, Russian border troops killed some 30 Tajik opposition fighters who were allegedly attempting to cross into Tajikistan from Afghanistan. (See Monitor, June 11) However, United Opposition first deputy chairman Akbar Turanjozoda described the clash as an unprovoked attack by Russian artillery and helicopter gunships against the opposition’s base in Nusahir on the Afghan side of the border. The opposition for its part is augmenting its forces in Teppai-Samarkandi and Nurek on the southeastern approaches to Dushanbe. The action looks like the beginning of a pincer move in conjunction with an opposition detachment entrenched on Dushanbe’s eastern outskirts. Opposition chief of staff Dovlat Usmon is in Dushanbe this week for talks aimed at defusing tensions. (Voice of Free Tajikistan, June 10-11)

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