Thursday, May 19, 2005

Efficiently


'Uzbek troops are reported to have retaken the border town of Korasuv. [...] A number of explosions and some gunfire was heard, but the takeover seems to have been largely peaceful with no reports of loss of life. The uprising's leader, Bakhtiyor Rakhimov, who said he intended to build an Islamic state, has been arrested.' ( Uzbek troops retake rebel town - earlier report here.) Ian MacWilliam, now in Osh, reports that Kyrgyz border guards claim that special forces were used (BBC radio). By contrast, there are reports that troops were stoked up with vodka before the operation to 'regain control' in Andijan.

Take this together with an Uzbek 'army source' telling the BBC that the death toll was higher than the official figure (I commented on this here - the BBC gave it some prominence a couple of days ago, with its implication of splits in the regime); and the fact that it took 5 days for any action to be taken. It may well be that there was an internal power struggle and elements in the military insisted that opposition be suppressed more efficiently and less indiscriminately.

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