Tajikistan has experienced bouts of internal violence in the past couple of years, but the bloody episodes in the Rasht Valley and in Gorno-Badakhshan have little to do with home-grown Islamic extremism, asserts Muhiddin Kabiri, the leader of the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan, the only legally operating, religiously oriented political group in Central Asia today.
Mainly foreign pundits have expressed concern that the Rasht Valley fighting in 2010 and Gorno-Badakhshan clashes earlier this year were a product of Islamic radicalism seeping into Tajikistan from neighboring Afghanistan. Kabiri maintained that while radical elements exist in Tajikistan, the danger posed by militants is lower than in other states in the region, including Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan.
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Richard Weitz is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute in Washington, DC.