Tajikistan Ambush Kills More Than 40 Troops

Govt Speculates Attackers Linked to Islamist Opposition

More than 40 members of the Tajikistan military were killed today in an ambush in Komarob Gorge. The troops had been deployed in the wake of a prison break and were aimed at reinforcing roadblocks in the northern part of the country.

The fighting continued throughout the day and into the night, as the Tajik Army struggled to get armored vehicles in the area. Though it remains unclear who was responsible for the ambush officials speculated that they were related to the Islamist opposition movement in the country.

The Tajik government faced a bloody civil war throughout the mid-1990’s with a lose confederation of opposition groups, which included both liberal reformists and Islamist factions. A number of Islamist opposition factions remain banned since the end of the conflict, and a number of them have cultivated ties with groups across the border in the ethnic Tajik portion of Afghanistan.

The government has continued to arrest members of the banned groups ever since, which has continued to fuel resentment and occasionally clashes. Today’s ambush appears to be unusually organized, however, and may point to a new upsurge in violence in the nation.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.