Posted by: Christian | September 20, 2010

Tajikistan Gets (More) Violent

Things are not looking good in Tajikistan. This weekend as many as 40 soldiers and police officers were killed in an ambush on a convoy in the “Komarob Gorge” near Gharm (Garm). I had never heard of the place and it took a while to find it on the only decent map produced outside the country. Komarob (Kamarob) is a small river (confluence with the main river in Rasht is near Navobod) and also a nature reserve near Gharm. I’m not sure if the gorge referred to here is just referring to the river downstream from Gharm or if the troops were up the tributary river instead. Not exactly on the border like some sources are saying.

Pic of the Gharm little-city sign via

Anyways, minor points on location aside, some people – such as the all-seeing spokesman for the MoD – are blaming Mullo Abdullo (Mullah Abdullah) and some foreign friends while others are just generically describing the attackers as Islamists. These guys have as much chance as taking over the country as the Maoists do in India, but they do have the ability to cause a large headache for the government.

And the question remains: will Tajikistan’s membership in the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization) and the CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organization) equal more substantive help if things get worse in the future? You can read the charters all you want and note the existence of the CSTO’s Collective Rapid Reaction Force, but will China and the Central Asian governments really want to get involved in a proto-insurgency in Tajikistan? Russia will likely take the lead in supporting the Tajik security forces, but will it feel like committing any (more) forces? Or will they stay on base? (There are already Russian troops in Tajikistan).

Another pic near Gharm up the Komarob river, via Sergey Bulanov:

As for the US, I wrote about its planned training facility for Tajik security forces a while ago.

If you want to follow the situation in Tajikistan you can visit Tajikistan Research Resources, a site I created last year. Quick links to: Tajikistan blogs and news. And if you are really, really interested you can check out the working draft of a Tajikistan bibliography I’m working on – just English language publications in the bibliography for now…


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