Rahmonov laid the groundwork for the clampdown during a July speech, in which he said three suspected terrorists held by the United States at the Guantanamo Bay naval base hailed from the area. Rahmonov went on to express concern about possible radical-motivated civil strife in northern Soghd Province.
The incident began on October 28, when officers from the Khujand military commissariat took nine journalists from two television stations SM-1 and TRK-Asia into custody. All nine were participants in a 10-day journalist-training workshop organized by Internews, a US-based non-profit group that promotes open media around the world.
Ziyoda Kuldasheva's marriage started with an escape she thought would last three days. In early March 2000, Kuldasheva and her new husband, Aybek Khojayev, fled Uzbekistan for Tajikistan, forced into exile by the Uzbek government's crackdown on unsanctioned forms of Islamic worship. Kuldasheva returned in September 2002, after months in terrorist camps in Tajikistan and Afghanistan.
A new US Senate resolution assails Central Asian governments for a wide variety of rights abuses, including "arbitrary arrest and detention" and restrictions on opposition political activity. The measure also calls on the Bush administration to condition US political, economic and military assistance to Central Asian states on their respective governments' rights records.
The joint resolution, entered into the Congressional Record by Arizona Republican John McCain on October 17, singles out Kazakhstan, calling on President Nursultan Nazarbayev's government "to create a political climate free of intimidation and harassment." It also says the US government should pressure Almaty to cooperate with an ongoing Justice Department investigation that reportedly involves
Regional governments say the physical presence of thousands of U.S. troops in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan have forced radical groups like the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, or IMU, to keep a low profile for the time being. But they do not believe the activities of such groups have been stopped entirely.
UN Environmental Programme specialists estimate the Aral's surface area is now just 25 percent of that which existed before Soviet central planners began diverting the rivers that feed the sea for ill-conceived agricultural irrigation schemes.