Central Asia Policy Brief No. 29, October 2015
By Eric Hamrin and Edward Lemon
The two weeks of violence that attracted international attention to Tajikistan last month, with government forces waging pitched battles with supporters of a former defense ministry official, echoed a conflict from the country’s past. Five Septembers ago, militants in mountains east of Dushanbe were similarly engaged in a life-and-death struggle with the regime. In that case, as in the recent events, officials tarred their opponents as “terrorists” and “rebels” and foreign observers largely regurgitated the accusation. But the similarity between the 2010-11 conflict in Rasht and the 2015 conflict in Romit, and between these events and other outbreaks of violence in the past decade, lies in their role as steps in the consolidation of power of President Emomali Rahmon’s regime.