2012 Gorno-Badakhshan clashes

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2012 Gorno-Badakhshan clashes
Gorno-Badakhshan (shaded), Tajikistan
Date 24 – 25 July 2012
Location Gorno-Badakhshan
Tajikistan Military of Tajikistan Tolib Ayombekov's militiamen (including Afghan fighters)
Commanders and leaders
Emomali Rakhmon Tolib Ayombekov
Unknown Unknown
Casualties and losses
17 killed[1]
23 wounded[2]
30 killed[3]
40 detained[4]
Disputed number of civilians casualties

The Gorno-Badakhshan clashes consisted of fighting between Tajik government forces and an armed group led by Tolib Ayombekov in Tajikistan's semi-autonomous Gorno-Badakhshan province in late July 2012.[5] The Western media described the fighting as the worst in Tajikistan since 2010[5][6] or the 1992–1997 civil war.[7]


On 21 July 2012, Major-General Abdullo Nazarov, head of the Tajik intelligence agency's branch in Gorno-Badakhshan, was fatally stabbed in Ishkashim[2][8] after being dragged out of his car.[4][9] The Tajik government accused the forces of Tolib Ayombekov, a former warlord, of responsibility. Ayombekov had been a warlord during the Tajik Civil War between the United Tajik Opposition and the government as led by President Emomali Rakhmon. He was given a government post in a subsequent peace deal.[5] However, Ayombekov and other warlords were gradually driven out as Rakhmon again centralised power.[6] Rakhmon's government had also accused Ayombekov of tobacco smuggling.[5]

Ayombekov denied any responsibility for Nazarov's death, stating that the general had been killed in a simple bar fight after he fell and struck his head on a rock.[5][6]


After the government announced that "Ayombekov and his accomplices have declined to face justice," phone and internet communications were cut off to the Gorno-Badakhshan capital of Khorog.[9] Tajikistan's most popular news website was also shut down[5] and the personnel of international aid groups were evacuated.[9] Roadblocks were erected on roads leading into the area.[5]

Tajik military forces then moved into the province after which "heavy fighting" ensued on 24 July with militants loyal to Ayombekov in the streets of Khorog.[2] Ayombekov estimated in an interview that 800 Tajik soldiers had been deployed to the area.[6] Residents reported seeing armored vehicles[2] and helicopter gunships.[9]

State-owned television reported that 23 soldiers had been wounded, but no soldiers or civilians had been killed. Initial casualty reports varied. BBC News reported at least 12 soldiers and 30 militants had been killed, but also spoke with a hospital source who reported more than 100 military personnel and 100 civilians dead.[2] The Associated Press cited an unnamed government source as stating that at least twenty soldiers had been killed, while the chief military prosecutor, Khairullo Saidov, suffered a foot injury.[6] Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported that snipers had killed at least six civilians, including children.[7] Al Jazeera reported 12 dead soldiers and 30 dead rebels, as well as more than 20 wounded soldiers.[4]

President Rakhmon ordered a halt to operations the following day, stating that rebel commanders had agreed to make "concessions," and called on all Gorno-Badakhshan militant groups to disarm.[10] Reuters reported that Defence Minister Sherali Khairulloyev had traveled to the area to offer amnesty to all militant leaders who surrendered.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Tajikistan accuses crime gangs of violating ceasefire by attacking police station
  2. ^ a b c d e "Tajikistan clashes: 'Many dead' in Gorno-Badakhshan". BBC News. 24 July 2012. Retrieved 25 July 2012. 
  3. ^ 17 Tajik security officers killed
  4. ^ a b c "Deadly fighting erupts in Tajikistan". Al Jazeera. 25 July 2012. Retrieved 25 July 2012. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g "Tajikistan soldiers killed in operation against former warlord". The Guardian. Associated Press. 24 July 2012. Retrieved 25 July 2012. 
  6. ^ a b c d e Olga Tutubalina (24 July 2012). "Tajikistan Army Clashes With Rebels; Dozens Killed". ABC News. Retrieved 25 July 2012. 
  7. ^ a b "Tajikistan: Will Ceasefire End Deadly Conflict in Gorno-Badakhshan?". Eurasianet. 25 July 2012. Retrieved 25 July 2012. 
  8. ^ "Tajik Officials: About 40 Dead in Fighting Between Troops, Militants". Voice of America. 24 July 2012. Retrieved 25 July 2012. 
  9. ^ a b c d Roman Kozhevnikov (24 July 2012). "Tajik troops strike ex-warlord after general killed". Reuters. Retrieved 25 July 2012. 
  10. ^ "Tajik President Rakhmon halts Gorno-Badakhshan attack". BBC News. 25 July 2012. Retrieved 25 July 2012. 
  11. ^ Roman Kozhevnikov (25 July 2012). "Tajik forces end military offensive". Reuters. Retrieved 25 July 2012. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Bleuer, Christian (2012). "State-building, migration and economic development on the frontiers of northern Afghanistan and southern Tajikistan". Journal of Eurasian Studies. 3 (1): 69–79. doi:10.1016/j.euras.2011.10.008. 
  • Rezvania, Babak (2011). "Post-conflict Tajikistan: The Politics of Peacebuilding and the Emergence of Legitimate Order". Ethnopolitics. 10 (3–4): 470–472. doi:10.1080/17449057.2011.596694. 
  • Tunçer-Kilavuza, Idil (2011). "Understanding Civil War: A Comparison of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan". Europe-Asia Studies. 63 (2): 263–290. doi:10.1080/09668136.2011.547698.