From Our Correspondent: Looting and Lax Security in Osh
Editor's Note: Alisher Khamidov reports on his travels late on June 13 along the road between Osh and Aravan, 20 kilometers to the west.
I was easily able to drive to Osh through the security checkpoints on the Aravan-Osh highway. It was striking that the security forces in charge of preventing movement on the highway were totally disorganized, they had insufficient supplies of food and they did not even check my documents. I told them that I was a journalist and that I needed to go to Osh to see the security situation there. They basically told me that I was free to go at my own risk. At the entrance to Osh, there was no security at all. Soldiers who were dispatched to patrol the checkpoint and cordon were sitting on the roadside. Nobody stopped me. As I drove through the streets of Osh, I could see a few people here and there. I saw a lot of destroyed property. I could see some crowds looting stores and bazaars where Uzbeks tend to trade. The Uzbek-populated neighborhoods are blocked by make-shift barricades. Several men I spoke with in those areas described being in shock, tired and hungry. In sum, the situation in Osh is calm. It seems the violence in Osh has stopped and the unruly crowds are now busy looting the town with little regard to the curfew. Uzbeks say that most looters came from neighboring Kyrgyz-populated towns.
Alisher Khamidov is a writer based in Bishkek.