The effort to spin the mid-June violence in southern Kyrgyzstan is taking an eyebrow-raising turn. The head of Kyrgyzstan’s State Security Service, Keneshbek Dushebayev, is claiming that relatives of former president Kurmanbek Bakiyev conspired with Islamic militants to destabilize southern Kyrgyzstan.
According to Dushebayev, Maxim Bakiyev, the son of ousted president Bakiyev, met with representatives of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) in Dubai, while the former president’s brother Janysh brokered deals with Afghan Taliban and Tajik fighters. “The transfer of militants to the south of the republic was made on the eve of the June events from Afghanistan’s Badakhshan province via Tajikistan’s Khorog and Murghab districts. Cooperation in transferring [the militants] was made by a former Tajik opposition commander and drug baron, whose contact was Janysh Bakiyev,” Dushebayev said.
Taliban, Tajik, IMU, and Islamic Jihad Union (IJU) fighters were offered $30 million in payment, he added. Dushebayev said he possessed evidence to support his version of events, but he did not produce anything that could support his claims. In addition, Dushebayev endorsed statements by Uzbek President Islam Karimov, who asserted that a “third force” was involved in the violence, which left hundreds dead and hundreds of thousands displaced. [For background see the EurasiaNet’s archive].
From 2005 until April 7 of this year, Bakiyev pursued policies that curtailed religious expression not expressly supported by his administration. [For background see EurasiaNet’s archive]. He also took aggressive action to neutralize radical Islamic movements, including Hizb-ut-Tahrir. [For background see EurasiaNet’s archive].
Former president Bakiyev has repeatedly denied having anything to do with stoking the violence. Maxim Bakiyev, meanwhile, has previously contended that the provisional government is trying to make him a scapegoat for the upheaval.
Dushebayev warned that Islamic militants are seeking to exploit the unrest in southern Kyrgyzstan. “Recently, IMU leaders and warlords held a meeting in south Waziristan, Pakistan. The participants of the meeting concluded the current situation in Osh and Jalal-abad provinces are favorable for sparking destructive activities across the all over the region,” he said.
The IMU, he contended, would seek to recruit “a considerable number of citizens unsatisfied with the actions of the [Kyrgyz] interim government, the Uzbek and Russian authorities,” he added. He did not provide insight into the source of his information.
Deirdre Tynan is a Bishkek-based reporter specializing in central Asian affairs.