Two months after a coup ousted
the repressive government of
Kyrgyzstan, violence has returned to the Central Asian state. Ethnic
Kyrgyz gangs are targeting ethnic Uzbeks in the cities of Osh and
Jalalabad, where much of the country's Uzbek minority lives. The
government has declared a state of emergency but the fighting is
continuing to spread, with an estimated 117 civilians killed so far.
Here's what's happening and what to expect.
- The Scene in Osh
The New York Times' Michael Schwirtz recounts,
"Gangs of gunmen continued raids on ethnic Uzbek enclaves, and a
refugee crisis grew at the border of this strategically important
Central Asian nation on Monday, after four days of violence left swaths
of the country’s ethnically mixed south in ruins. ... Kyrgyz volunteers
armed with bats and iron bars — some recently arrived from the north of
the country — continued to patrol outlying villages, saying they were
defending the country’s south against an Uzbek attempt to seize it."
- Military Struggling to Bring Order Registan's Michael
Hancock writes, "The military presence is clearly not enough, as a
military patrol in
Jalalabad was almost hi-jacked by gangs of Kyrgyz men. Even
though the military has been given permission (or shall I say ordered?)
to fire on sight any and all violent looters, there are allegations
that the military refuses to fire on fellow Kyrgyz men. It doesn’t
take much more than this to make people start using the G-word."
- Some Police Join in Ethnic Violence The Globe and Mail Hulkar Isamova reports,
"Ethnic Uzbeks in a besieged neighbourhood of Osh, Kyrgyzstan’s
second-largest city, said gangs were carrying out 'genocide,' burning
residents out of their homes and shooting them as they fled. Witnesses
saw bodies lying on the streets. 'God help us! They are killing Uzbeks
like animals. Almost the whole city is in flames,' said Dilmurad
Ishanov, an ethnic Uzbek human rights worker in Osh. Rights activists
said the authorities were failing to stop the violence, and occasionally
- Thousands of Ethnic Uzbeks Flee New
Eurasia's Chris Schwartz writes,
"Uzbekistan officials are saying that at least 30,000 Kyrgyzstani Uzbeks
have crossed the border; one even told RIA Novosti news agency that 75,000 have
fled. When we consider that Uzbeks only make up approximately one
million inhabitants of Kyrgyzstan’s total five million peple, even the
low estimate is downright shocking."
- Kyrgyzstan Seeking Help
From U.S. and Russia Foreign Policy's Steve LeVine reports,
"Before Kyrgyzstan turned to Russia, it informally asked Washington for
military assistance including a supply of rubber bullets to quell ethnic
bloodletting in the south of the country, but was turned down, I am
told by people privy to the situation. Russia says it may deploy troops
if it's a collective regional decision."
Complicate Afghan War The Wall Street Journal's Kadyr Toktogulov
and Alan Cullison warn the fighting is "threatening to destabilize
what has been a conduit for troops and supplies for the U.S.-led war in
Afghanistan." They note that the U.S. has maintained a base in
Kyrgyzstan for nine years now.
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