Tajikistan Map

Bomb Scare in Isfara

Isfara, Tajikistan — Yesterday’s bomb scare in Isfara has derailed my efforts to meet with religious leaders and other local sources. With the city now crawling with officials from the Interior Ministry (MVD) and State Committee for National Security (SCNS), my contacts concluded that this was an inauspicious time to meet with Americans writing books…

Urunboy Usmanov

The Trials of Urunboy Usmonov

Khujand, Tajikistan — This afternoon I met with a source who has been following the recent arrest of BBC correspondent Urunbay Usmonov. Two days ago, a Tajik government advisor told me that the arrest was an unfortunate error on the part of local authorities and would be quickly resolved. Yet here in Khujand, regional security…

IMU

Insights into the Khujand Bombing

Khujand, Tajikistan — Sources in Tajikistan’s second largest city offer conflicting motives for the suicide bombing that killed 25 people at a local Interior Ministry (MVD) station in September 2010. Officials say the perpetrator was wanted by police for kidnapping and other violent crimes. Others say he was a devout Muslim who sought revenge after…

Turkestan Mountains, Tajikistan. © Christopher Swift 2012

Central Asia’s Pax Sinica?

Turkestan Mountains, Tajikistan – Signs of Beijing’s influence are clearly evident here at the Shahhristan Pass, where Chinese laborers have established a camp amidst the dusty switchbacks some 3378 meters above sea level. From the newly erected 5 Megawatt power lines crossing the Turkestan Mountains, to the tunnel they’re currently drilling through several kilometers of…