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The Makings of a Quagmire in Central Asia

With sporadic fighting continuing between government forces and Islamic insurgents, Central Asia faces the prospect of becoming embroiled in a long-term conflict.

The first clashes this summer occurred August 7 in the mountainous Sukhandarya region of Uzbekistan. Since then, fighting has spread to the Batken region of Kyrgyzstan, the scene of a prolonged hostage crisis involving Islamic militants in 1999. [For additional information see the Eurasia Insight archives]. The insurgents reportedly have infiltrated the region from bases in Afghanistan, via Tajikistan.

The fighting has displaced at least 1,000 civilians, according to Human Rights Watch. There are no reliable casualty figures, although it appears that dozens of Uzbek and Kyrgyz government troops have been killed. The insurgents are believed to be members of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, which aims to oust Uzbek President Islam Karimov's government.

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Justin Burke is the editor of EurasiaNet.

The Makings of a Quagmire in Central Asia

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