A suspect from the Crocus City Hall attack in court in Moscow, March 2024. Yulia Morozova / Reuters

In March, terrorists affiliated with Islamic State Khorasan, also known as ISIS-K, attacked Moscow’s Crocus City Hall, killing 145 people and wounding several hundred. The authorities swiftly arrested 12 young men, all of whom were from Tajikistan, the most southern and poorest republic of the former Soviet Union. Tajikistan’s economy is moribund, and the combination of a low growth rate and a youthful population has created an immense diaspora: at least a quarter of Tajikistan’s working-age men live abroad. The country they left behind is repressive, with a government as hostile to many forms of Islam as it is to any signs of dissent.…  Seguir leyendo »

Depuis l’attentat meurtrier du 22 mars dans la banlieue de Moscou, les observateurs français ont semblé redécouvrir l’existence d’une mouvance islamiste en Asie centrale, faisant de cette région la nouvelle « tête de pont » de l’Etat islamique au Khorassan (EI-K) et du Tadjikistan l’épicentre des efforts de recrutement de cette organisation. Mais cette focalisation sur le pays d’origine des auteurs présumés de l’attaque tend à gommer le caractère interne de la menace terroriste sur le territoire russe : en réalité, l’attentat de Moscou ne dit rien du Tadjikistan, mais beaucoup de la Russie.

Projet djihadiste global, l’organisation Etat islamique (EI) s’est construite en opposition aux idéologies ethno-nationales, incarnées en Asie centrale par les talibans pachtouns d’Afghanistan, ou encore par les partis d’opposition islamiques au Tadjikistan et en Ouzbékistan.…  Seguir leyendo »

El presidente tayiko, Emomali Rahmon, habla mucho de democracia, pero su presidencia se ha caracterizado por un estancamiento económico y social, agudizado por la corrupción y la mala gestión. El único partido de oposición con verdadero peso, el Partido del Renacimiento Islámico de Tayikistán (PRIT), ha sido prohibido y tachado de terrorista. Las elecciones fraudulentas y docenas de detenciones en 2015 han callado a los adversarios políticos, y en marzo asesinaron en Turquía a un líder de la oposición en el exilio. Los activistas temen el acoso de las autoridades, y las ONG “actúan en un entorno incierto y de alto riesgo”.…  Seguir leyendo »

The appearance of Colonel Gulmurod Khalimov in an Islamic State propaganda video on May 27 sent a chill across Central Asia. The head of Tajikistan's Special Assignment Police Unit (OMON), a key element in President Emomali Rahmon's security apparatus, had disappeared shortly before. In the video he promised to return to wage violent jihad.

A veteran of brutal Tajik government operations, Khalimov has the qualifications. And Tajikistan, a desperately poor country ruled by a venal elite, is a vulnerable target. As I drove to its capital, Dushanbe, last summer through the ancient city of Khujand and the rickety, fume-filled, Iranian-built Shariston tunnel, I saw poverty and isolation that eclipses the worst pockets of deprivation in neighboring Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan.…  Seguir leyendo »

On June 16, Alexander Sodiqov, a Ph.D student in political science at the University of Toronto, was arrested in his native Tajikistan and reportedly charged with espionage and treason. His crime: investigating a local conflict that the government would rather you not know anything about.

It is easy to keep secrets in the Pamir Mountains — the rugged, sparsely populated eastern region of Tajikistan that borders China and Afghanistan. There is one flight a day from the capital Dushanbe to the region’s main city, Khorog, and it is canceled at the slightest hint of bad weather. The only alternative is a 15-or-so-hour drive over rough mountain roads.…  Seguir leyendo »

During my 30 years in Congress, I was privileged to visit most countries on this planet as a representative of the U.S. government. From the heart of Africa, to the jungles of Asia, to the rain forests of South America, I have seen it all.

Typically, the congressional delegations with which I traveled would visit these countries during major events, transitions or turning points in their histories. As a result, I consider myself honored to have been present and active in many of the world’s most significant events over the past 30 years.

Some of these events have a prominent place in our history books and our national consciousness, but many more do not.…  Seguir leyendo »