TASHKENT, Uzbekistan - A lot of people in Uzbekistan remember where they were on that traumatic day 25 years ago. There are no public commemorations on the Feb. 16 anniversary. But every year, Uzbek media publish details about the 1999 bombings in Tashkent, the capital. School teachers briefly tell students about it. The Uzbek government blamed Islamic militants for the coordinated bombings that killed at least 16 people and injured about 100. Islam Karimov, president at the time, said extremists had intended to kill him. Abduvali Soyibnazarov, a political commentator in Uzbekistan, spoke about the attacks in a conversation with The Times of Central Asia. He said since his office – the Broadcasting Center of Uzbekistan is located in the central part of the city, the sounds of explosions were clearly heard by him. It was 10:40 a.m., Soyibnazarov recalled. “There was supposed to be a meeting of the government of Uzbekistan dedicated to the results of the economic development of the republic in the past year. Shortly before the start of the meeting, a shootout took place between the president’s guards and militants in the main square of Tashkent - in front of the government building,” he said. International news organizations scrambled to figure out what was happening. There was a false rumor that the Cabinet of Ministers building had been attacked with grenades. “The first explosion occurred shortly after the start of the shooting, on Yusuf Khos Khajib street of the capital, near the building of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. A ZAZ-968M car exploded,” Soyibnazarov said. The second explosion, the most powerful of the day, occurred at 10:55 a.m., 15 minutes after the first blast. “The explosion was in a car parked near Independence Square. Some residents, whose houses are two to three kilometers away from the place of the explosion, believed that an earthquake had started. Our Uzbek radio broadcasting center is also located in the central part of the city, so the explosion was very loud. Even the windows of our office almost broke,” he said. A third car blew up near the entrance of the Cabinet of Ministers building, during a meeting that Karimov was scheduled to attend. Karimov, however, had not yet arrived. After being informed about the attacks, he went to the scene and was addressing the nation on live television when – at 11:20 a.m. - a fourth bomb exploded a few kilometers away, near the National Bank of Uzbekistan. “As a result, the windows of the bank and surrounding buildings were shattered. People injured by broken glass were shown on TV. We heard explosions going off at different intervals in other parts of the city. The fifth and last explosion took place at 12 p.m. in the garage of a private house,” Soyibnazarov said. The casualties included three internal affairs officers, one of whom later died. Several days after the attacks, Karimov said he had narrowly escaped death. “I usually arrive at meetings 10-15 minutes early. But I was a...
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In Aktobe, an attacker spread a terrorist threat to schools, after which parents did not let their children attend classes. On January 25th, an unknown culprit left a threatening message in a Telegram channel, where they spoke about plans to organize a mass shooting in schools in the city of Aktobe. The message quickly spread through social networks and parental chats, after which many parents did not let their children to go to school: out of 57924 students, only 8558 attended classes. The police immediately found the author of the threatening messages and asked the parents of schoolchildren not to sow panic. The city administration also assured citizens that there was no threat to children, and that schools would be reinforced with security guards. The attacker turned out to be an 18-year-old young man, who is a citizen of another country from the near abroad. A case has already been opened against him for knowingly spreading false information about an act of terrorism. Regional authorities in Aktobe say the situation is now under the control of specialized law enforcement agencies, and there is no cause for concern. Additionally, the city administration asked parents not to unnecessarily disrupt the educational process.
In a recent development concerning the case of plotting an explosion in the FSB building on Lubyanka, a Moscow court has handed down sentences ranging from 16 to 22 years in prison to five Tajiks and one Dagestani. The severity of the verdict echoes the gravity of their involvement in planning a terrorist attack in May 2022. The individuals sentenced include citizens of Tajikistan—Manuchehr and Rajabali Buriev, Abdumalik Samiev, Samandar Toshmurodov, and Abdukodir Toirov—alongside Russian-born Gadzhimurad Gasanaliev. Fines ranging from 600,000 to a million rubles were imposed on all the defendants by the court. The legal process further extends from a previous ruling by the Moscow Regional Military Court, which sentenced the same six individuals to prison terms between 12 to 18 years for planning a terrorist attack and illegal possession of explosives, among other charges. While four of the accused admitted guilt, two pleaded partially guilty during the trial. Investigative reports revealed the defendants' intentions to detonate a bomb inside a minibus in the Moscow suburb of Lyubertsy in 2016. Additionally, authorities claimed their allegiance to the extremist group Islamic State (IS), intending to join IS militants in Syria post the planned attack. This case reflects a larger concern regarding individuals from Russia and former Soviet republics joining extremist groups in conflict zones like Syria and Iraq. Rights activists in Russia have raised concerns about the treatment and legal representation of migrants from Central Asian states, citing inadequate protection against unjust treatment by authorities. As the legal proceedings unfold, this case stands as a stark reminder of the vigilance required to counter terrorism and the ongoing challenges surrounding effective legal representation and protection for individuals involved in such cases.
KABUL (TCA) — A new report by the United Nations Children’s Fund, or UNICEF, has revealed that an average of nine children were killed or maimed every day in Afghanistan in the first nine months of 2019, Afghan broadcaster TOLOnews reported. Continue reading
DUSHANBE (TCA) — Tourists should “exercise increased caution in Tajikistan due to terrorism,” the U.S. Department of State said in its travel advisory published on November 13, a week after some 20 IS militants attacked a Tajik border post near Uzbekistan, located about 60 kilometers southwest of the Tajik capital Dushanbe. Continue reading
DUSHANBE (TCA) — An overnight shoot-out at a post on the Tajik-Uzbek border has ended with one Tajik border guard and one police officer killed, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reported citing Tajik authorities. Continue reading