The Problem of Small Arms and Light Weapons in Tajikistan

Burkhard Conrad, Student, University of Hamburg, Germany



Since the end of the Cold War the type of conflict dominant around the globe has changed. Whereas up to the end of the Eighties the struggle between the superpowers characterised the world order, this has now been replaced by a seemingly anarchical emergence of regional and local conflicts. This change both reflected and reinforced a simultaneous shift in warfare and the use of weaponry. Contemporary weapons of choice are easily transportable, used by one fighter only and have proliferated throughout the world. Small arms and light weapons account for some 90 per cent of all deaths and injuries in conflicts since 1999.1 Once distributed they are very difficult to track, collate and destroy. Tajikistan is just one of many examples of conflict that leaves a country awash with small arms. Rwanda, Abkhazia, Transneistr, Chechnya, Bosnia, Congo, Cambodia and Columbia are others that immediately spring to mind.

Although the subject of small arms transfers in general has been extensively analysed, the Tajik case-study has received relatively little attention. Historically, Tajiks like all the Central Asian societies were not heavily militarised or armed.2 The decades of Russian and Soviet rule did not alter this situation. Only when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1979, did Tajikistan begin its development into a militarised country. The weapon supplies for troops through the region and the dependence on Tajik fighters during the conflict profoundly affected the local communities. The Afghan conflict (1979-1988) laid the basis for the catastrophe which followed the collapse of the Soviet Union at the beginning of the 1990s. Soon after the declaration of independence in September 1991, it became apparent that the state-building process would be turbulent.3 Quarrels between the ruling Communist Party and the opposition, which also represented different regional groups, quickly stagnated into a political stalemate. Eventually when the dispute became violent in May 1992, fighting started between the different groups and it took no longer than a few weeks for both sides to arm themselves heavily. One can say that at this point the spread of small arms and light weapons began. By the end of the ‘official’ war in the summer of 1997, Tajikistan was full of weapons and had merged with its neighbour Afghanistan into a single market for weapons and drugs.

This paper examines the situation which has emerged in the country since the time of the peace agreement between the government and the opposition in June 1997. This agreement marks the end of the ‘official’ phase of warfare. The two key aspects of the small arms problem will be analysed more closely. These issues are: the incomplete disarmament process of the opposition fighters following the agreement; and in addition, the ongoing weapons trafficking and weapons spread in the country and the region. The paper will try to characterise the nature of the small arms problem as well as analyse the implications it has for the security of Tajikistan and the region. Information concerning the issue is scarce and hardly any reliable figures exist. On the spot research was not possible in the case of this paper, therefore the author gives some indications of the scope of the problem through interpretation of the data available.

The definitions of ‘small arms and light weapons’ are numerous4 but for the purpose of this paper the recognised definition used by NATO is adopted, "arms that are crew portable direct fire weapons, up to 50mm calibre, with a secondary capability against light armour and aircraft."5

Disarmament Process

In the run up to the agreement on peace and national reconciliation of June 1997, both the government of Tajikistan and the United Tajik Opposition (UTO) met in Moscow in March 1997 and signed the Protocol on Military Issues. All parties were aware of the fact that the country was confronted by a great challenge, namely to get the immense flow of small arms and light weapons under control.

The Protocol proposed a process of reintegration, disarmament and disbandment of opposition troops in four stages. This would occur alongside with a reform of the power structures within the Tajik government.6 In the first stage the UTO was to assemble its fighters at ten assembly points all over the country7 where they were supposed to register and be counted and medically examined. In addition they had to hand in their weapons, which were to be stored safely. All this would be done within two months after the setting-up of the Commission on National Reconciliation (NRC).

During the second stage, no later than one month after the completion of the assembling of the UTO forces, "those units be made into corresponding units of the regular armed forces of Tajikistan."8 They were to take the oath and be provided with uniforms but were still part of separate units, however subordinated to the "corresponding chain of command".9 UTO would announce the disbandment of its troops. In the third stage a Joint Review Board would advise on the future personnel of the Tajik armed forces, both in the rank and file and command positions. Health, competence and lack of criminal record were among the indications for suitability of inclusion into the armed forces. Those who were found unfit for whatever reasons would be retired and returned to civilian life. The Protocol gave an allowance of six months to carry out the first three stages. The fourth and last stage, the full integration of the ex-UTO fighters into the official troops, was to be completed by July 1, 1998. During the entire process the United Nations Mission of Observers in Tajikistan (UNMOT) was asked to monitor the disarmament and demobilisation.

The general agreement on peace and national reconciliation was eventually signed in Moscow in June 1997 by the government of Tajikistan and UTO. Following this, the NRC together with several sub-commissions including one for military issues were set up by degrees at the end of July and met for the first time after the arrival of opposition leader Said Abdulla Nuri on September 15. Nuri was to chair the Commission.10 It was the task of the NRC and especially its military sub-commission to oversee the implementation of the Protocol on Military Issues. This proved to be a difficult task. The scheduled end of the reintegration by July 1, 1998 could not be met. It can be said that the timetable set out in the Protocol for Military Issues was over-optimistic and did not take in account the complex nature of a disarmament process especially in the case of Tajikistan. Therefore, it was not before the end of October that the assemblage and registration of UTO fighters at some of the specified assembly points (Tavildara and Karategin valley) started.11

Members of the UN Mission to Tajikistan "occasionally had to insist on having access to registration data."12 The process was accompanied by regular fighting between government troops and renegade soldiers who did not declare allegiance to either the official army or the recognised UTO-troops. On one of these occasions, an attack on government forces resulted in the death of 14 soldiers and the capture of both heavy and light weaponry by the rebels.13 Repeatedly during this time hints were spread by both the government and captured renegade soldiers that parts of the military establishment of Uzbekistan supported such rebellions by allowing the rebels to withdraw to Uzbek territory or by covertly supplying them with ammunition.14 Such accusations were quite regular during the years of the civil war and afterwards.

As early as December 1997 UNMOT expressed concern about the peace process, especially the implementation of the Protocol on Military issues. It reported a discrepancy between registered fighters and the weapons returned and a general "uneven progress" of the registration of the opposition fighters.15 What was planned to be finished within two months from the middle of September ’97 onwards, dragged on well into the following year. It was not before April 1998 that the Chairman of the NRC, Said Abdulla Nuri, announced that most of the approximately 5000 opposition fighters were about to be registered, plus some 500 troops stranded in the border region of Afghanistan since the summer of the year before.16 UTO acknowledged however that local warlords tended to ignore the demands of disarmament and demobilisation and that armed gangs, often indistinguishable from the former, pursued their own criminal interests. According to a Tajik official there were many more problems facing the reintegration process.17

The problems were wide-ranging and profound. These were for example, armed teenage boys who were brought up during the years of fighting and "who know nothing but conflict since they were young." Also, weapons seemed to be so widely spread that fighters, usually working on farms in the countryside, engaged in "part-time" fighting, making it impossible to register them and their arms. Repeated joint ultimatums by the government and the opposition to renegade groups to hand over their weapons were constantly ignored leading to attempts to disarm these groups by force. The deadline for the reintegration by July 1, 1998 passed by with many fighters still not being registered and the ones from Afghanistan only starting to return.18 Concerning the restructuring of government troops, President Rakhmonov issued a decree at the end of July, asking the security and interior ministries to "make an inventory of weapons, military hardware, identification cards of servicemen and licenses authorising owners to keep and carry weapons and ammunition."19 The only result of this decree seemed to be the sacking of an Internal Troops commander due to the "inappropriate fulfilment" of the decree but not the actual registration of weaponry.20

Bearing in mind all these difficulties, UNMOT published a review at the end of the summer of 1998 on the fulfilment of the Military Protocol up to that point, stating, that ‘it is difficult to conclude that the first stage has been fully achieved."21 According to UNMOT, most of the UTO fighters were not assembled in the designated assembly areas, and even more than one year after the peace agreement was signed some of the assembly areas were not fully operational. The 5979 fighters registered, according to numbers released by the NRC, handed in only 1911 weapons, most of them obsolete. Thus, the ratio of fighters to weapons was 3:1. This was a ridiculously low figure considering the fact that at the beginning of the conflict in May 1992, it took only one month to distribute more than 10,000 weapons, AK-47 assault rifles, light machine guns and Makarov pistols, among the quarreling parties.22 And although the registered weapons were supposed to be stored safely, they were regularly removed by the fighters and carried in public. UNMOT admitted that "the total number of weapons in storage fluctuates on a daily basis."23 This obviously undermined attempts to implement the second stage of the Military Protocol, namely, the proper integration of the UTO-fighters into the structures of the Tajik troops. Earlier in 1998, the UN had considered a buy-back programme, as it was used in the settlement of various conflicts in Africa and Central America. However, the general availability of all sorts of weapons in Tajikistan would have made the buy back programme counter productive as the money would only have been used to update weapon stocks with more sophisticated arms.24 This desperate situation was confirmed by a statement of the Tajik government in late September, accusing several commanders of the UTO of leaving the assembly areas, setting up of illegal check points on roads and indulging in robbery.25

The consequences of such an incomplete disarmament and demobilisation process became obvious, when at the beginning of November 1998 around 900 fighters under the renegade commander Mahmud Khudoyberdiyev seized the town of Khujand and the surrounding areas in the north of the country.26 Fighting in this part of Tajikistan continued for a couple of days and was accompanied by an enormous spread of weaponry. The rebels deliberately distributed light weapons to the local population, among them two dozen submachine-guns, pistols and 1,000 rounds of ammunition, which were collected later in the month by security forces.27 In addition, a considerable amount of light weapons were stolen from army units and only a few of them could be recovered afterwards.28 This rebellion made the difficulties of the peace process obvious. Not only did the reintegration process of the UTO into the government structure proceed slowly, but there were and still are large groups of unaffiliated fighters under the command of several Afghanistan-style warlords sometimes controlling more than 1,000 troops.29 Quite often these groups used foreign territory as a shelter place, such as in the case of the November 1998 uprising, when they emerged out of Uzbekistan.

With the release of more figures on the disarmament of opposition fighters, the end of 1998 brought another disappointment for the peace process.30 The low fighters-weapons ratio of the summer was repeated with 6238 registered UTO troops handing in only 2119 weapons throughout 1998, a ratio of about 34 per cent. There was also a striking regional difference with the Leninsky, Kofarnikhon and Karategin districts having a ratio of 48 per cent, 37 per cent and 35 per cent respectively. The mountainous and remote Pamir region of Gorno Badakshan that was always a stronghold of the opposition had only a 29 per cent ratio, indicating a lack of cooperation of regional UTO commanders in the whole process of demobilisation. Statements, like the one of Nuri at the end of 1998, speaking of the complete disarmament of the opposition troops within the course of 1999,31 could be called over-ambitious, as a number of commanders were suspended following the commands of the leadership of the UTO. Thus, the Tajik President Rahmonov frankly stated in February that "no one knows the number of weapons. You (unspecified, probably referring to the UTO) have hidden them. What has been registered is a very small amount."32 Independent reports later in the year confirmed this rather bleak view of the ailing disarmament process.33

It was not before April 1999 that the actual reintegration process of UTO troops into subdivisions of the government forces began34 which constituted only parts of the second stage according to the Protocol on Military Issues. This had been due for completion more than one year previously together with the third stage, that is the certification of the reintegration.

By the end of August 1999 UTO declared the complete disbandment of its units and the registration of arms with 4500 out of 6000 registered soldiers opting for a service within the countries army or police.35 This would mean that the second stage according to the Protocol on Military Issues is finally concluded. UTO urges its soldiers to hand over any unregistered weaponry within twenty days starting from the August 4.36 The experience of the peace process so far indicates that this is unlikely to happen.37

Arms Trafficking

With the incomplete disarmament being one side of the problem, extensive arms trafficking constitutes the other side. This issue cannot be understood without awareness of the conflict in Afghanistan. The ‘primary repository’ for light weapons in Central Asia is Afghanistan.38 The endless war there, especially after the 1979 invasion of the Soviet forces, is responsible for the massive problem the countries of the region are faced with concerning small arms. Weaponry worth some $8 billion poured into the region up to 199239 with only a fraction arriving at their final destination40 and others being leaked on their way to the Afghan front-line, most notoriously in Pakistan. The list of weapons concerned is long. They shall be listed here as comprehensively as possible as it is highly probable that most of them can also be found in Tajikistan. From an US-supported pipeline the following weapons were available in Afghanistan or Pakistan: Chinese Type 56 weapons, Kalashnikovs from East Germany and Romania, German G3s and MP-5 submachine guns, Stinger surface-to-air missiles (SAMs), Milan anti-tank-missiles (ATMs), Chinese Type 83 mine clearing rockets, Egyptian and Chinese 122mm (heavy) artillery rockets. Of Soviet origin are the assault rifles AK-47 and the more advanced AK-74, rocket-propelled grenades (RPG’s), sniper weapons and sophisticated SAMs. Of regional or unknown origin are AK-47s of inferior quality, American 16A2 rifles, 9mm Calico carbines, Winchester pumpaction shotguns, Uzis, .38 Webley pistols and other revolvers.41

During the time of the Soviet involvement in the Afghan conflict Tajikistan experienced the first serious influx of small arms as masses of weaponry were on the move from Soviet bases to the conflict area in the south. The same happened during the Soviet withdrawal in 1988 when a considerable loss of weapons occurred.42 Nevertheless, the main period for acquiring weapons in the Central Asian republic started with the actual armed conflict within Tajikistan itself in May 1992. As already mentioned, this month saw the distribution of over 10,000 weapons among government and opposition supporters. The Russian forces in the country (201st Motor Rifle Division, MRD) and the successors to the Tajik KGB supplied the official forces with weapons out of their own surplus stockpiles.43

Other sources for weaponry were the ministries, police precincts, former Soviet army support centers (DOSAAF schools) and military training departments.44 In the years of the conflict it emerged that in general the government forces obtained their arms from the Russian troops in the country especially as both of them used to draft their fighters out of the Kulyab area in the south.45 At the beginning of the fighting this was not official Moscow policy, but there were also no attempts to hinder these developments. It was later in the year that this de facto support became official policy.46 Support for the government troops also came from the Uzbek side.47 On the other hand, Afghanistan was the main weapons source for the Tajik opposition forces with prices ranging from about $400 for an AK-47 and $600 for a machine gun in 199448 and Pakistan being an active supporter of this supply.49 The activities by both sides led to a situation in which Tajikistan in the summer of 1997 was awash with weapons which could be easily hidden and thus kept for future use. Diverse traffic routes had been established guaranteeing further supply. They are mostly still in use today.

The actual routes of the arms trafficking are very hard to determine. In general it can be said that the entire Tajik-Afghan border is affected by the weapons trade, with the drugs and arms business being closely inter-linked. The former regional backbone of the UTO, Gorno-Badakhshan in the mountainous and remote southeast, soon developed a reputation as a main trading route, as the opposition engaged in a busy cross border trade with merchants and the general population in Afghanistan to secure their supply.50 This trade route, established during the time of the civil war, is probably still in frequent use as occasional arms interceptions and discoveries of weapon depots in the region indicate.51 As Russian military flights are still not subject to customs searches, it is probable that they are a vehicle in the drug and weapon transfers as they were during the civil war.52 Thus one likely route of the drugs/weapons from Gorno Badakhshan is to Osh/Kyrgyztan, a regional centre of this market,53 or director to the regions in Russia and from there to Europe.54 As the presence of border troops in the remote Pamir section decreased at the end of 1998,55 a growth of the trafficking there seems to be unavoidable. The situation in the rest of the Tajik-Afghan (the western Khatlon section) border can be described as probably being even worse. Clashes between border troops and drugs and weapons traders happen nearly on a daily basis with the latter being in possession of assault rifles, sub-machine guns, grenade launchers and other weaponry obtained in Afghanistan. All in all, only 20 per cent of the border is covered with sensors, down from 85 per cent six years ago56 which makes the position of the border troops desperate.

To follow the track of the weapons when they have entered Tajik territory is probably even more difficult. As Khodjibaev states, it is very likely that a lot of weapons head for the Uzbek-Tajik border regions, especially the Southwest of Tajikistan and the Khudjand area bordering the Ferghana Valley, possibly supplying Uzbek opposition troops in the area.57 Road and rail-connections between Dushanbe and Tarmiz in Southern Uzbekistan seem to be particularly popular among weapon and drug traffickers.58 The regularity of uprisings and fighting in the border regions of eastern and northern Tajikistan are a strong indicator that they have a steady arms supply. The northern Leninabad and Tavildara district seems to be particularly badly affected with Kyrgyzstan also being infiltrated by Uzbek Islamic rebel troops during summer and autumn.59 They sheltered in the mountainous Kyrgyz-Tajik border region of the eastern Osh-Oblast, launching regular attacks and raids on both sides of the border.60 Only recently they left the area for the Taliban-controlled territory in Afghanistan.61 Even the official side admits that the situation has deteriorated, in particular after the November revolt last year.62 This is just another example of a revolutionary group coming from neighbouring areas of Uzbekistan into Tajikistan, making weapons trafficking into Uzbekistan highly probable.63

With the Afghan civil war still continuing, weapons flow into Afghanistan, is also flourishing, in particular in support of the anti-Taliban forces under the command of the Tajik, Masoud, in the north-eastern parts of Afghanistan. Tajikistan and Russia are the sources most often mentioned in this context. Airlifts filled with weapons and ammunition are used in the same way as are surface deliveries with trucks.64 Iran also appears to capitalise upon the fragility of the Central Asian republics to supply arms to the conflict zone, as the seizure of weapons destined for the anti-Taliban forces on a train in Osh, southern Kyrgyzstan, indicates.65

All the routes mentioned above are used by both weapons and drug traders with some 75 per cent of drugs coming from Afghanistan going through the western border sections.66 It is probably not an overstatement to claim that both businesses are in fact one as "experience has shown that drug smuggling routes are in most cases the routes of small arms smuggling as well."67 Drug trading increased sharply in the region after the end of the Cold War, as outside assistance for the warring groups in the Afghan civil war plummeted and they looked for other sources of finances.68 But again, it is difficult to make an in-depth analysis on the linkage of drug and weapons trafficking as only limited information is available. Cases like the one in September 1997, when a drug trafficker not only tried to smuggle 19 kg of narcotics over the Tajik-Afghan border, but also ammunition for grenade launchers and submachine guns, are certainly not an isolated incident.69 According to the Tajik President Rahmonov "about one tonne of various drugs" are smuggled over the Tajik-Afghan border each day70 making the amount which is seized in the end rather small. In addition, the involvement of border troops and also higher government officials in the narcotics trade is widespread.71 This and the weapons trade serve as a kind of second income for the notoriously under-funded military personnel.

But there is also considerable internal weapons trading and trafficking within Tajikistan. The regular theft of weapons and ammunition from military bases and police stations points to this. Even heavy weaponry like tanks fell victim to bandit-like assaults on official forces.72 The aforementioned rebellion in the Leninabad district saw the theft of some 600 sub-machine guns, 28 machines guns, around 1,000 battle grenades and ammunition from army bases. Although an unspecified amount of these weapons were confiscated later on, rebels and also the general population supplied themselves on this occasion with a considerable quantity of arms. It is likely that some of these weapons moved with the retreating insurgents into Uzbek territory. According to figures published by the Interior Ministry, thefts of arms and ammunition rose in 1998 by 28 per cent in comparison to 1997.73


The future prospects for overcoming the problem of small arms and light weapons in Tajikistan cannot be said to be bright. During June, July and August 1999 the official integration and disarmament of opposition troops has been brought close to a conclusion. Thus one might also conclude that the implementation of the Protocol on Military Issues would be well advanced by now in theory. However, the discrepancy between the registered fighters and weapons handed in points to a de facto unwillingness of former rebel fighters to disarm completely. On the other side, the extensive arms trafficking throughout the region contributes to the existing security concerns within Central Asia. The territorial integrity of Tajikistan and in recent times increasingly also Kyrgyzstan can be seen as being highly fragile. Raids are still very common, especially in the northern districts of Leninabad and the area around Garm, where NGOs are advised not to operate.74 Thus, both the incomplete disarmament process following the General Agreement of June 1997 and the widespread availability of light weapons up to sophisticated SAMs75 through the active trafficking together with the extensive drugs-trading within the country and the region will make a quick return to a stable situation unlikely.

The societal problems evolving out of the general availability of weapons and the militarisation of the whole population are enormous. This clearly highlights a spill-over effect from military to societal and economic security concerns. After years of civil war and continuous fighting, a return to a normal civilian life is made difficult for most levels of society, in particular because of the economic sources of insecurity predicated upon a collapsed economy. With weapon procurement easily effected, to make a living through fighting becomes a convenience, other forms of employment are less attainable.76 Job-creating programmes, such as one recently created by the UN in the Karategin valley, Tavildara, Garm, Tajikabad, Hoit and Jirgatal, can certainly help to ease the situation but will be clearly insufficient to solve the problem, and cannot even be said to ‘manage’ it.77

Strangely enough, the solving of regional conflicts such as the Afghan conflict, could have negative as well as positive effects on the situation of small arms trafficking within the region. If conflict resolution regimes were created, leading to a dramatic decrease in the number of weapons required one could maintain that it is highly likely that the extensive drug cultivation and trading throughout the region would also decrease. However, at the same time, this welcome development would also probably lead to an increase in the traffic of both surplus weapons, a general characteristic of small arms in a post-conflict situation, and ‘surplus personnel’ out of Afghanistan into adjoining areas, thus also Tajikistan.78 Indications that this is already happening are numerous. The November ’98 uprising in the north of the country is an example of this development. Around 300 mercenaries from Afghanistan participated in the revolt, probably coming through Uzbek territory from around Mazar-e Sharif.79 There are also rumours that Tajik fighters were involved in the rebellion in Dagestan after the end of the civil war in the Central Asian republic.80 This points to an increased mobility not only of small arms and light weapons, but also of the fighters who are unable to reintegrate into a peaceful society. The affected countries in the region are left to cope with this loss of control over what and who enters and leaves their territory.

The situation concerning small arms and light weapons in Tajikistan reveals that such problems are not merely of a local relevance but can have considerable implications for an entire region. The destabilising effect of these is apparent in the newly arisen situation in the neighbouring countries of Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. In the same way, it is not only a problem for military security but spills over most intensely into societal sectors and also into economic security matters. Thus a solution of the problem must encompass actions to also counter these security concerns, if small arms transfers and disarmament are not to become the security leitmotif of the whole region in the 21st century.


1. Cf. S. Rana, Small Arms and Intra-State Conflicts, United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research, Research Paper n. 34, March 1995, (1995) p.1.

2. Cf. K. Khodjibaev (1999), "Small Arms Proliferation and Social Militarisation in Tajikistan," Central Asia Monitor, n. 3, (1999), p. 25ff, I am grateful to Roy Allison for making me aware of this article.

3. For an overview over the first years of the conflict, cf. for example J. Thoni (1994), The Tajik Conflict: The Dialectic Between Internal Fragmentation and External Vulnerability, Programme for Strategic and International Security Studies Occasional Paper No. 3/1994. Also Johannes Reissner (1998), "Der Burgerkrieg in Tadschikistan," in Heinrich-W. Krummwiede/Peter Waldmann, Burgekriege: Folgen und Regulierungsmoglichkeiten, (Baden-Baden: 1998), pp. 268-293.

4. The best sources are probably A. Karp (1995), "Small Arms-The New Major Weapons," and M.T. Klare (1995), "The Global Trade in Light Weapons" and the International System in the Post-Cold War Era," both in J. Boutwell/M.T. Klare/L.W. Reed (ed), Lethal Commerce-The Global Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons, (Cambridge: American Academy of Arts and Sciences, MA 1995). Also T. Kubler/P. Schneider, Kleinwaffen-Neue Herausforderungen fur die Rustungskontrollpolitik, Research Unit of Wars, Armament and Development, (University of Hamburg: Working Paper Nr.3/1998).

5. T. Kartha, "Light Weapons Proliferation And Regional Instability in Central Asia," Strategic Analysis, vol. XIX, no. 9, (1996) pp. 1278/9.

6. Protocol on Military Issues, The text of the document is available at <>

7. These are Vanj, Garm, Jirgatal, Komsomolabad, Kofaringan, Russian, Tavildara and Tajikabad districts, Khorog and Magmurud in the Lenin district.

8. Protocol on Military Issues, Cf. n. 6.

9. Protocol on Military Issues, Cf. endnote 6.

10. UNMOT Newsletter No. 1, September 15-29, 1997, available from <>

11. UNMOT Newsletter No. 4, October 27-November 10, 1997.

12. UNMOT Newsletter No. 4.

13. Cf. Summary of World Broadcasts (SWB), SU/3055 G/1, Voice of the Islamic Republic of Iran and ITAR-TASS, "Final casualty toll from presidential guard attack reporter," August 17, 1997.

14. Cf. SWB, SU 3061 G/12, ITAR-TASS, "Part of Uzbek military leadership allegedly backed Tajik rebels," January 1, 1997.

15. UNMOT Newsletter, No. 7, December 9-22, 1997.

16. REF/RL, "Tajikistan: Armed Forces Demobilise, April 24, 1998. According to a Tajik official about 4000 opposition fighters had been registered by May 2, 1998, being some 90 per cent of the total. Cf. SWB, SU/3216 G/3, Interfax, "Over 90 per cent of opposition fighters registered," April 29, 1998.

17. RFE/RL, "Tajikistan: Armed Forces Demobilise," April 22, 1998. Also relevant in the following.

18. Cf. SWB, SU 3268 G/1, RIA, "Return of opposition fighters from Afghanistan begins," July 1, 1998.

19. SWB, SU/3290 G/1, ITAR-TASS, "President Rahmonov issues decree on law and order in the army," July 24, 1998.

20. SWB, SU/3310 G/2, Ekho Moskvy, "President Rahmonov sacks Internal Troops commander," August 18, 1998.

21. UNMOT Newsletter 23, August 5-20, 1998.

22. Cf. Khodjibaev, "Small Arms Proliferation and Social Militarisation in Tajikistan," n. 2, p. 26.

23. Cf. n. 16. Partly printed bold in the original.

24. RFE/RL, "Tajikistan: Armed Forces Demobilise," April 22, 1998.

25. SWB, SU/3343 G/1, Tajik Radio First Programme, "Authorities accuse opposition groups of violating peace accord," September 24, 1998.

26. SWB, SU/3376 G/1, Interfax and ITAR-TASS, "Rebel commander’s gunmen seize strategic buildings in second city," November 4, 1998.

27. SWB, SU/3390 G/3, ITAR-TASS, "Security forces continue mopping-up operations in north," November 19, 1998.

28. SWB, SU/3456 G/1, Narodnaya Gazeta, "Law-enforcement bodies detain a number of men involved in revolt in north," January 29, 1999. More details concerning thefts of arms in the ‘Arms trafficking’ section.

29. According to his own statement, Khudoyberdiyew commanded at the end of 1998 some 5,000 fighters, SWB, SU/3377 G/2, NTV, "Rebel commander calls for talks," November 4, 1998.

30. Cf. UNMOT Newsletter n. 30, December 1998. These figures are to be treated cautiously as UNMOT acknowledges.

31. SWB, SU/3420 G/3, Interfax, "Islamic opposition to disband armed forces inside Tajikistan in 1999," December 28, 1998.

32. SWB, SU/3456 G/1, Tajik Radio first programme, "President Rahmonov criticises law-enforcement agencies for slow pace of work," February 9, 1999.

33. For example RFE/RL, "Tajikistan: Failure to Implement the Peace Accord Leads to Instability," March 3, 1999.

34. SWB, SU/3516 G/3, Tajik Television First Channel, "About 500 opposition fighters integrated into government forces," April 19, 1999.

35. RFE/RL, "Demilitarisation, referendum preparations on track in Tajikistan," July 29, 1999.

36. SWB, SU/3607 G/2, NTV, Opposition says farewell to arms, August 4, 1999.

37. Cf. RFE/RL, "Tajikistan Seeks Resolution of Uzbek Fugitive Issue, August 26, 1999.

38. Kartha, n. 5, p. 1279.

39. Ibid.

40. According to Rahman, only 30 per cent of the weaponry reached the front-line, R. Rahman, "The Illicit Flow of Small Arms in South Asia," Disarmament: A Periodical by the United Nations, vol. XX, Part 2/3, (1997) p. 81.

41. Relevant in the following C. Smith, "Light Weapons and Ethnic Conflict in South Asia," in: Boutwell/Klare/Reed (eds.), Lethal Commerce, 1995, pp. 61-80.

42. Khodjibaev, n. 2, p. 26.

43. I.B. Neumann/S.V. Solodovnik (1995), "Russian and CIS peace enforcement in Tajikistan." Obtained from <>

44. Cf. Khodjibaev, n. 2, p. 26.

45. Cf. R. Allison, "Peace Keeping in the Soviet Successor States," Chaillot Paper 18, Institute for Security Studies, (Western European Union: 1994), p. 10.

46. Jonson, "The Tajik War: A Challenge to Russian Policy," Discussion Paper 74, (London: The Royal Institute of International Affairs, 1998), p. 8f.

47. Jonson, n. 46, p. 35.

48. Interview with Alesha Gorbun at December 7, 1994, in: Literaturnaya Gazeta, January 25, 1995. Obtained from <>

49. Cf. J. Singh, "Light Weapons and Conflict in Southern Asia," in: J. Singh (ed.), Light Weapons and International Security, (New Delhi: Indian Pugwash Society and British American Security Information Council, 1995), p. 54.

50. Neumann/Solodovnik, "Russian and CIS peace enforcement in Tajikistan." Cf. footnote 42.

51. SWB, SU/3141 G2, ITAR-TASS, "Russian guards uncover arms dump on Tajik-Afghan border," February 2, 1998.

52. Kartha, n. 5, p. 1285. For today’s situation cf. RFE/RL, "Pact Likely to Bring Mixed Results," April 8, 1999.

53. Kartha, n. 5, p. 1285.

54. Cf. RFE/RL, "Pact Likely to Bring Mixed Results," April 8, 1999.

55. SWB, SU/3372 G/1, Radio Russia, "Russia to cut back its border patrols in Tajikistan because of financial problems," October 29, 1998. Border outposts in the Murghob (border to China and Vakhan region of Afghanistan) and Ishkoshim (border to Afghanistan) border area are closed down due to lack of money.

56. Cf. Jonson, n. 46, p. 53.

57. Khodjibaev, n. 2, p. 27. Bands of armed rebels are said to maintain training camps in the Dzhizak Region of Uzbekistan. SWB, SU/3382 G/1, ITAR-TASS, "Captured rebels say Afghans, Uzbeks involved in revolt," November 11, 1998.

58. SWB, SU/3528 G/4, Tajik Radio first programme, "Tajik and Uzbek police seize large consignment of drugs heading for Russia," May 4, 1999.

59. SWB, SU/3609 G/2, ITAR-TASS, "Security stepped up on Kyrgyz border," August 7, 1999 and AP, "Troops, Gunmen Clash in Kyrgyzstan," August 26, 1999.

60. BBC News, "World: Asia-Pacific Analysis: Central Asia’s enduring quarrel," August 17, 1999.

61. ITAR-TASS, "Uzbek Islamists deported from Tajikistan," November 9, 1999.

62. SWB, SU/3466 G/4+5, Tajik Radio first programme, President "Rahmonov visits north of republic to raise revenue, crack down on crime," February 20, 1999.

63. SWB, SU/3376 G/1, Interfax and ITAR-TASS, "Rebel commander’s gunmen seize strategic buildings in second city", November 4, 1998.

64. Kartha, "Tools of Terror-Light Weapons and India’s Security," (New Delhi: Knowledge World, 1999) p. 83, and SWB, SU/3350 G/1, Radio Voice of Shari’ah, "Afghan Taleban warn Tajikistan not to interfere," November 1998. This is a Taliban source.

65. SWB, SU/3377 G/4, ITAR-TASS, "US concerned over Iranian arms to Afganistan," November 4, 1998.

66. Esp. Shurabad, Muminabad and Pyani districts. Cf. International Narcotics Control Strategy Report 1998. Source: <>

67. R.E. Bedeski/A. Andersen/S. Darmosumarto, "Small Arms Trade and Proliferation in East Asia: Southeast Asia and the Russian Far East," Working Paper No. 24, Institute of International Relations, The University of British Columbia, September 1998, p. 42.

68. Kartha, n. 64, p. 70.

69. SWB, SU/3015 G/1, ITAR-TASS, "Russian border guards kill alleged drug smuggler on Tajik border," September 3, 1997.

70. SWB, SU/3436 G/1+2, ITAR-TASS, "President Rahmonov says more must be done to tackle drugs problem," January 15, 1999. Cf. also, "Russian Guards Seize 100 Kilos Of Heroin On Tajik Border," Russia Today, August 2, 1999.

71. SWB, SU/3547, ITAR-TASS, "Russian border guard chief says transfer of some sections to Tajiks not working," May 27, 1999. Even the opposition leader and chairman of the National Reconciliation Commission Nuri has been accused of being involved in the drug business. Cf. SWB, SU/3562 G/2, ITAR-TASS, "Opposition hits out at Uzbek media attacks on its leaders," June 14, 1999.

72. SWB, SU/3055 G/1, Voice of the Islamic Republic of Iran and ITAR-TASS, "Final casualty toll from presidential guard attack reported," August 17, 1997.

73. SWB, SU/3438 G/1+2, ITAR-TASS, "Big increase in armed and drugs-related crime in 1998," January 1, 1999. The number of drug-related crime in Dushanbe rose by 90 per cent in 1998, ibid.

74. According to an anonymous source.

75. According to some sources, the Uzbek Islamic rebels who infiltrated Kyrgyzstan in August have six Stinger-missiles in their possession. BBC 92399, "Uzbeks Mass Troops Along Kyrgyz Border," September 23, 1999.

76. The militants who were involved in hostage-taking in Kyrgyzstan only recently were given a ransom of money and food. SWB, SU/3618 G/3, Interfax, "Official confirms air strikes against Tajik rebels," August 17, 1999.

77. Interim report of the Secretary-General on the situation in Tajikistan, August 12, 1999. Obtained at <>

78. Cf. Khodjibaev, n. 2, p. 28 and T. Kartha, Proliferation and Smuggling of Light Weapons in the Asia-Pacific Region", Strategic Analysis, p. 1493, vol. XXI, Part 10, (1998).

79. SWB, SU/3382 G/1, ITAR-TASS, "Captured rebels say Afghans, Uzbeks involved in revolt," November 11, 1998.

80. ITAR-TASS, "Tajikistan denies its citizens are involved in Daghestan," August 12, 1999, and ITAR-TASS, "Russian embassy unaware of Tajik rebel movement to Chechnya," November 12, 1999.