By Felipe Bueno
On September 4, twin attacks rocked the central Asian country of Tajikistan. Because both attacks were multifaceted and uncoordinated strikes, the sequence of events remains unclear. The attacks were carried out by ex-members of the United Tajik Opposition (UTO), though their motive is unknown.
Tajik authorities claim not to know the origin of the attacks. According to Radio Free Europe, a few weeks before the twin attacks, police officers in Vahdat allegedly beat a college student for having a beard. The United States Embassy claimed it had warned the Tajik government that the small clashes had been a precursor to the attacks.
The Diplomat poses that the two attacks stem from the government’s violent crackdown on all forms of opposition and on practitioners of the Islamic faith. President Emomali Rhamon’s stance against Islam is especially controversial, due to the country’s proximity to Afghanistan, a dominantly Islamic country.
In August, the government demanded the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan (IRPT) to cease its activities. The IRPT is “the only officially registered Islamic party in the former Soviet Union,” reports Radio Free Europe. The IRPT also sided with the United Tajik Opposition during the Tajik civil war.
Tajikistan has a long and complicated history of conflict and unrest since its separation from the Soviet Union in 1991, shortly followed by a civil war in 1997. Aside from the IRPT, President Rahmon also has grievances with former UTO warlords, who resent that Rahmon has been in power since 1994. In 2013, he won 83.6 percent of the vote.