Tajikistan says foils attack plot, arrests 7
( Reuters ) - Tajikistan said on Monday it had foiled a plot to carry out terrorist attacks against nightclubs and markets in the Central Asian republic and arrested seven Uzbek citizens over the case.
Tajikistan, a Muslim nation bordering Afghanistan, is still recovering from a 1992-97 civil war between Islamist guerrillas and a secular government that killed more than 100,000 people. It has been calm since the 1997 peace settlement.
Tajikistan's first deputy interior minister, Sharif Nazarov, told reporters the Uzbeks were members of a militant group calling itself the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), active in the region in the late 1990s.
"They admitted to having been plotting a string of acts of terror in (the capital) Dushanbe, particularly night clubs and markets," he said.
Police had confiscated explosives from the suspects.
Last month a small explosion took place at the Supreme Court building in Dushanbe. No one was hurt, but the authorities called it a terrorist attack.
Some governments in Central Asia have been criticised by Western rights groups for using a perceived threat of Islamist militancy to crack down on dissent and religious freedom.
Guerrillas of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan fought in Afghanistan alongside Taliban forces but the group was largely destroyed by the U.S.-led military campaign that started there in 2001, security analysts say.