Uzbekistan: Rising Frustration

Two well-educated and relatively affluent young women walked into the Chorsu market area of Tashkent, Uzbekistan’s capital city, and detonated explosives strapped to their bodies. Several policemen, hated by many for their corruption and brutality, were instantly killed, along with innocent bystanders and the women themselves. A new form of terrorism had struck in Central Asia.

The World Today
5 minute READ

Michael Denison

Researches Central Asian security issues, University of Leeds

The suicide bombings came in the midst of several days of running gun battles between police and militant Islamists on the Tashkent streets, and two separate explosions in homes used as bomb factories, near the western city of Bukhara. In a six-day period at the end of March and beginning of April, forty- seven people were killed. Thirty-three of them were insurgents and ten were police officers, with scores of others wounded.

Although the violence ended abruptly, Tashkent remains tense. Around twenty- five thousand policemen nervously patrol the streets. Forty-five people are in jail awaiting trial in connection with the incidents. Superficial normality has returned, but the closed political culture in this former Soviet republic conceals deep insecurity and paranoia. This puts at risk the stability of the region and, with it, an important strand of the American ‘war’ on terrorism.

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