Tajikistan: hostage situations on the border with Afghanistan are commonplace occurrences
Mamadsharif Hotamov, villager of Shohon (Shuroabad district, Hatlon region of Tajikistan), was kidnapped at 23.00 on September 25. A group of armed people broke into Hotamov's house and took him away.
Unfortunately, episodes like that are commonplace occurrences in the border districts of Tajikistan - and have been commonplace for at least a decade.
Here is a brief account of similar episodes compiled by journalists.
Hudoikul Talbakov and Husniddin Kadam (juvenile) of the kishlak of Jilga (Shuroabad district) were kidnapped on November 11, 2006.
Kamchin Jurahonov was similarly kidnapped on December 14.
Talbakov and Kadam were released on December 22. The authorities claim that no ransom was paid.
Jurahonov was released on January 22, 2007 - again, for allegedly no ransom.
Criminal charges against Ashurboi waladi Sultonahmed, Karimi Yahmiston, and other members of the same Afghani gang operating on the territory of Tajikistan, were pressed on January 8, 2007.
Twelve Afghani dope dealers seized Muhammad Yusupov, 25, and Husrav Emomov, 16, on the night on July 17, 2007. Yusupov of the kishlak of Sebandi and Emomov of the kishlak of Fartangi were taken to Afghanistan. Law enforcement agencies said Yusupov and Emomov had paid their partners fake US dollars and thus elicited their wrath.
A special team of border guards, Interior Ministry, and Security Ministry was set up to handle the crisis. It took the team a week of negotiations to negotiate the hostages' release.
Hostages are regularly taken in the Hamadoni district too.
One Abdurasuli Jumahon (juvenile) and Rustam Muslimov were kidnapped in the settlement of Margob on January 7. They were released following lengthy negotiations only in late August.
Tajik secret services and law enforcement agencies claim that up to 25 hostages from Tajikistan must be kept on the Afghani territory at this point. The locals say that the actual figure is considerably higher. Cattle is regularly stolen from the Tajiks, and even crops are stolen by the Afghani from the territory of Tajikistan.
As a matter of fact, the situation on the Tajik-Afghani border was essentially the same when the Russian border guards manned it years ago. Even the same figure - 25 hostages - was usually given.
Is it that someone finds tension on the Tajik-Afghani border convenient for his purposes?