Kofamikhon, Tajikistan. © Christopher Swift 2012

Turajonzoda Reflects on the IMU’s Origins

Kofamikhon, Tajikistan — Today I conducted a lengthy interview with Akhbar Turajonzoda, the former Qazi Qalon and Deputy Prime Minister of Tajikistan. Turajonzoda served as deputy commander of the United Tajik Opposition (UTO), a coalition of democratic and Islamist parties allied against President Rahmon’s post-Soviet regime. Turanjonzoda offered several interesting insights regarding the origins of…

Mountain Village, Central Tajikistan. © Christopher Swift 2012

Insights into the Rasht Insurgency

Dushanbe, Tajikistan – According to senior Tajik government advisors, the 2010 Rasht valley insurgency was led by Tajik militants who returned to Tajikistan after a long deployment with the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) in Afghanistan. While the facts surrounding Rasht remain murky, they believe that the insurgents were part of a wider regional network…

Tajikistan Map

Tajikistan: A Transit Country

Dushanbe, Tajikistan — Dushanbe, Tajikistan – Tajik security officials and their international counterparts report that Tajik, Uzbek, and Pakistani militants routinely travel through Tajik territory on their way to or from Afghanistan. Most appear to be treating Tajikistan as a transit country. Yet some also appear to be using southern Tajikistan as a safe haven…

Soldiers and Missionaries

Istanbul, Turkey – A third of the passengers on my flight to Dushanbe are Spanish infantrymen attached to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. I presume they are bound for the Provincial Reconstruction Team in Badghis province. The other Westerners on my flight appear to be evangelical Christian missionaries or international development specialists….

Fieldwork in Central Asia

Washington, DC – During the next two weeks I will be traveling through Central Asia to examine how indigenous terrorist groups interact with al-Qaeda and the Taliban in neighboring Afghanistan and Pakistan. My route will take me from southern Tajikistan, through the restive Fergana Valley, and then on to Northern Kyrgyzstan. I hope you will…