Tag Archives: Islamic extremism

Tajikistan arrests suspected members of the Muslim Brotherhood

JAN. 6 2020 (The Bulletin) — The security forces in Tajikistan arrested dozens of people over the New Year period who they said are linked to the banned Muslim Brotherhood group, media reported. Tajikistan banned the Muslim Brotherhood in 2006. It has carried out a number of purges since of Muslim Brotherhood members, although rights activists have said that the real targets may just be opposition supporters.

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— This story was first published in issue 433 of the weekly Bulletin on Jan. 13 2020

— Copyright owned by the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin

7 soldiers, not 2, killed in IS attack -security source

NOV. 26 (The Bulletin) — At least seven, and not two, guards were killed in an attack on a checkpoint around 40km outside Dushanbe, the RFE/RL website reported by quoting sources inside the security services. This is different from the numbers given out by the Tajik National Security Committee which said that 15 attackers and two guards were killed in the attack on Nov. 6. The extremist group IS claimed the attack.
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— This story was first published in issue 430 of the weekly Bulletin.

Comment: Was it really an IS attack in Tajikistan?

— The Tajik government blamed IS for an attack near Dushanbe on Nov. 6 and two days later the extremist group took responsibility but there are still plenty of questions, writes James Kilner

A few hours after an attack on a military checkpoint around 60km west of Dushanbe, there were notably more armed police on the streets of the Tajik capital. Earlier a roads that runs through opulent gardens outside the Presidential Palace had been eerily quiet. There were also fire-engines, military and civilian, parked down side streets. They hadn’t been there the day before.

Surely the extra armed police, the fire-engines and the empty street leading past the Presidential Palace were linked to the attack, blamed on the extremist group IS, that had killed 17 people that morning.
Not necessarily, I was told.

The attack happened on the 25th anniversary of the adoption of Tajikistan’s constitution, one of those anniversaries that former Soviet states like to celebrate, and according to people walking along Rudaki, the main street in Dushanbe, the extra security would have been in place regardless of the alleged attack.

It all seemed rather odd. An alledged IS attack had occurred hours earlier, only an hour’s drive from central Dushanbe and this was the sum total of the extra security precautions?

Details of the attack were also emerging that three fresh questions on its veracity. Of the 17 people killed, 15 were apparently IS fighters. How did a heavily-armed and highly motivated IS unit with the element of surprise apparently lose a firefight so conclusively? Fifteen dead attackers compared to two dead government soldiers.

The government also released a handful of grim photos from what it said was the shoot-out location. Some of the dead bodies shown on the photos had had their hands tied behind their back. Does this mean that Tajik forces had actually captured several of the attackers and then killed them? Was the attack in some way staged?

Previously, the Tajik government has been too eager to press its claims that IS is a major threat to its stability. This line, the government appears to reason, will generate financial support from donors. And the timing for the Nov. 6 attack appears to have been good for the Tajik government as Pres. Emomali Rakhmon was not in the country. Instead, he was glad-handing EU leaders in Europe.

Although IS claimed responsibility, the attack doesn’t really carry its hallmarks. For many, the questions of who and why the attack happened are still out there.

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— This story was first published in issue 428 of the weekly Bulletin.

IS claims responsibility for attack near Dushanbe

DUSHANBE/Nov. 8 (The Bulletin) — The IS extremist group claimed responsibility for an attack on a security checkpoint in Tajikistan that killed 17 people.

Tajikistan’s National Security Committee said that four cars carrying armed men and women attacked the checkpoint around 60km outside Dushanbe. Two members of the Tajik security forces and 15 assailants died in the attack. This year, the Tajik authorities blamed IS for deadly violence in a prison and last year, IS claimed responsibility for an attack on Western tourists that killed four people.

Tajik and Russian security analysts have said that IS and the Taliban are planning on targeting Tajikistan. >>See page 2 for comment

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— This story was first published in issue 428 of the weekly Bulletin.

Russia’s Lavrov underlines importance of Tajik military base

FEB. 5 (The Conway Bulletin) — On a trip to Dushanbe, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said that Russia’s base in Tajikistan was a vital bulwark against the spread north of Islamic extremism and the Taliban. He also promised to strengthen Russian forces at the base. Russia has warned for the past five years that militant Islamic forces intend to move north into Central Asia.
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>This story was first published in issue 399 of The Conway Bulletin on Feb. 8 2019
Copyright The Conway Bulletin 2019

Turkmenistan mobilises its military reserves (again)

JAN. 15 (The Conway Bulletin) — Turkmenistan has started registering reservists because of concerns over militants in neighbouring Afghanistan, sources at the ministry of defence told Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

Turkmenistan has periodically raised concerns over fighting in neighbouring provinces in Afghanistan. In 2015, President Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov ordered all reservists to undertake their first mass military exercise since the 1991 break up of the Soviet Union. This was repeated in 2016, and in 2017 he signed another decree calling up for military service all men over the age of 18.

Analysts have said that Turkmen officials are concerned about worsening stability on their southern border with Afghanistan.

The RFE/RL source said that men under 50 had been told to register with the military. Turkmenistan is officially neutral.

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>>This story was first published in issue 397 of The Conway Bulletin on Jan. 20 2019

47 Kazakhs evacuated from Syria

JAN. 9 (The Conway Bulletin) — Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev said that 47 Kazakh citizens had been rescued from Syria where he said they had been tricked into travelling and held as prisoners. Hundreds of Kazakh men have travelled to Syria and Iraq to fight for the IS extremist group over the past few years. They often persuaded their wives and children to join them. Of the 47 people that Mr Nazarbayev said had been rescued, 30 were children.
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>>This story was first published in issue 397 of The Conway Bulletin on Jan. 20 2019

Tajik soldiers killed on Afghan border

JAN. 4 (The Conway Bulletin) — A Tajik soldier was killed on the border with Afghanistan during an operation to track down smugglers, government sources told AFP. The porous border is one of the main drug trafficking routes from Afghanistan. Shoot-outs and the kidnapping of locals, used as pawns to trade for captured Afghans, is commonplace.
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>>This story was first published in issue 396 of The Conway Bulletin on Jan. 11 2019

Swedish prosecutors charge three Central Asians with terrorism

DEC. 28 (The Conway Bulletin) — Prosecutors in Sweden charged three men from Central Asia with plotting to commit terrorism and for financing the IS extremist group. Three other men are also charged with financing IS. All six men are from Kyrgyzstan or Uzbekistan. The three men had bought chemicals and other kit and were intent on killing dozens of people, prosecutors said. Last year a failed Uzbek asylum seeker was sent to prison in Sweden for killing five people in an attack in central Stockholm in 2017.
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>>This story was first published in issue 396 of The Conway Bulletin on Jan. 11 2019

Kyrgyzstan kicks off counter terrorism drills kick off

SEPT. 25/28 (The Conway Bulletin) – Russia and Kyrgyzstan held joint counter-terrorism drills in eastern Kyrgyzstan, part of large series of wargames by CIS member states. Ahead of the exercise, which involved 400 pieces of military hardware, 30 Russian aircraft and a missile defence system, Russian officials said that they were important because of the increased terrorist threat from Afghanistan.
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>>This story was published in issue 387 of The Conway Bulletin on Oct. 1 2018