KORASUV, Uzbekistan – Breaking through a wooden gate and firing only a single warning shot, Uzbek forces on Thursday captured a rebel leader who had proclaimed plans for an Islamic state in this border town.
The arrest and takeover of the town of 20,000 quelled the last open bastion of resistance to the U.S.-allied government in the volatile Fergana Valley….
The crackdown in Korasuv came as the Uzbek Foreign Ministry condemned Kyrgyzstan for letting more than 500 Uzbeks fleeing the violence cross the border, and said weak border controls had led to “serious riots” and actions staged by religious groups….
Rakhimov had told The Associated Press on Wednesday that he would be “building an Islamic state here in accordance with the Quran.”
He didn’t mention Hizb ut-Tahrir, the banned extremist group that aims to create a worldwide Islamic state and claims to eschew violence. President Islam Karimov, who has outlawed all public Islamic practices outside station-controlled Islamic institutions, has claimed the group was connected to the Andijan uprising.
On the Kyrgyz side of the border across from Korasuv, a man who said he was a Hizb ut-Tahrir adherent disavowed Rakhimov’s uprising as going against the group’s philosophy.
“Of course it’s every Muslim’s dream and aim to create an Islamic state,” said Abdullo, who gave only his first name out of fear for his safety. “However, you can’t build a caliphate this way, through an uprising.”
Rashad Kamolov, 27, wearing the white skull cap characteristic of observant Muslims here, said the Korasuv uprising would play into Karimov’s hands.
“This revolt will do no good to the Muslims. It will only bring harm,” he said. “Now Karimov will be able to shout to the world, ‘Look! It’s Muslims.”
The government has denied its troops opened fire on unarmed civilians during anti-government protests in Andijan last week. It says 169 people were killed in clashes between authorities and militants. Opposition leaders say more than 700 people died.
POSTSCRIPT: After a previous post about Uzbekistan, a blogger named Serdar Kaya published an attack on me and my work. I never would have seen it had he not sent it to me, but we had a courteous and fruitful email exchange after that. It led not to full agreement, but to some understanding, and I appreciate his not stooping to the hit-and-run method of attack favored by most of the anonymous cowards who email me. We may not agree on everything, but we can disagree with mutual respect.
I’d also like to thank Confederate Yankee for defending me from Serdar Kaya’s characterizations of my work, with which I still disagree despite my appreciation for his willingness to discuss things civilly.