Posted by: Christian | November 29, 2010

Misinterpreting the “Insurgency” in Tajikistan

The violence has somewhat subsided in Tajikistan and we now have time to look back on some of the events of this year. My insistence (offline at least) has steadily been that the people behind this violence do not have a strong/wide enough social base to sustain any sort of serious campaign. In the long-term I’m more worried about elite-level bickering over the meager economic and political assets of Tajikistan.

Anyways…, this is where I’m supposed to dig up and mock some terrible reporting on the IMU or Mullo Abdullo. Or I could post some terrible quotes from some people who know nothing about Tajikistan. It’s mostly ridiculous and ill-informed, and it’s so easy to pick apart. Instead of making more online enemies I will just recommend that you read two short articles by John Heathershaw and Sophie Roche. They have deep involvement with Tajikistan and have done extensive fieldwork in the area (Rasht) where most of the attacks on government forces happened.

They did not get to pick the titles for their articles, just fyi:

Conflict in Tajikistan: Not really about radical Islam

Tajikistan’s Marginalised Youth

You don’t often get to read quick analysis by people who done independent academic research in an area that has had an on-and-off insurgency (at least not in Central Asia). Of everything that has been written so far, these articles are the ones I recommend the most.

Pic of Qarotegin/Gharm/Rasht/[future name] valley via the above linked articles:

As for my blogging here, I’ll continue with very few posts as I’m under a tight deadline with my dissertation writing.


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