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Organized Crime Helps Stoke Instability in Kyrgyzstan’s Southern Provinces

Osh is a center of drug use and trafficking in Central Asia. (Photo: Rena Effendi)

Drug lords likely played a role in stirring up the recent political violence in southern Kyrgyzstan, regional experts say, adding that organized criminal gangs are intent on fomenting instability in order to protect their trafficking networks.

At least two people were killed and dozens wounded during two days of upheaval in Kyrgyzstan’s three main southern cities, Batken, Jalal-abad and Osh on May 13-14. [For background see the Eurasia Insight archive].

Supporters of ousted president Kurmanbek Bakiev were out in front of the uprising, but striving to take maximum advantage of the upheaval were crime kingpins, local analysts say.

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David Trilling is EurasiaNet’s Central Asia news editor.

Organized Crime Helps Stoke Instability in Kyrgyzstan’s Southern Provinces

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