8 Police Killed as Tajikistan Ministries Raided by Islamists

Deputy DM Leads Raids, Seizes Arms Caches

The US has announced the immediate closure of their embassy in Tajikistan today as the nation’s capital city erupted in battle, with an Islamist group led by the Deputy Defense Minister raiding the Defense and Interior Ministries and looting large amounts of weaponry.

Maj. Gen. Abdulkharim Mirzo Nazarzod, the official in question was a commander in the former Islamist rebellion during the 1990s civil war, and his political party, the Islamic Renaissance Party, was banned just last week by the government.

10 people were confirmed killed in today’s fighting, including 8 policeman and 2 fighters from Nazarzod’s faction. Other reports were that Nazarnod’s forces had killed dozens of troops, though there has been no confirmation on that.

Nazarzod is the second major loss to the government’s military establishment in recent months, after Gulmurod Khalimov, the leader of the special forces, joined ISIS in May. Though there is no sign that Nazarzod joined any existing Islamist group, his historical ties to the old rebellion suggests today’s incidents may be a prelude to another major Islamist rebellion in central Asia.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of Antiwar.com.