With armed groups in Tajikistan’s restive east ignoring demands to surrender their weapons, authorities in Dushanbe may find themselves hard-pressed to avoid fanning a local insurgency. Any new government attack could prompt a cycle of violence that proves difficult to contain, experts caution.
Internet, mobile and landline connections to Gorno-Badakhshan province have been cut since the fighting broke out there early on July 24. That morning in Khorog, special forces targeted Tolib Ayombekov, the head of a border post on the Afghan-Tajik frontier and an opposition commander during Tajikistan’s 1992-1997 civil war. Officials in Dushanbe contend that Ayombekov was responsible for the July 21 murder of a KGB general and was involved in drug smuggling.
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