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The Central Asian Insurgency: Why Not Negotiations?

With fighting continuing in Central Asia, several high-profile political leaders and human rights activists have called for negotiations between regional governments and Islamic insurgents. Such appeals, however, are proving premature. The rhetoric of both Uzbek and Kyrgyz leaders remains adamant, and they appear committed to the pursuit of a military solution.

Some observers say that Central Asian leaders, in particular Uzbekistan's Islam Karimov, have pursued policies that greatly limit their desire and ability to compromise.

"Karimov has been steadfast in portraying the insurgents as international terrorists," said Cassandra Cavanaugh, a Central Asia specialist for Human Rights Watch. "For a man [Karimov] who won't allow even the most peaceful forms of dissent at home, it would be difficult for him to enter into negotiations with those that he has described as terrorists."

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Justin Burke is editor of EurasiaNet.

The Central Asian Insurgency: Why Not Negotiations?

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