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Qishloq Ovozi

Two wives of Islamic State fighters who were repatriated to Kazakhstan and who appear in the RFE/RL documentary Second Chance.

RFE/RL's Kazakh Service, known locally as Azattyq, recently released a documentary film called Second Chance, which dealt with Kazakh citizens who had travelled to territories in Syria and Iraq that were under the control of the so-called Islamic State (IS) extremist group, and who were later repatriated by authorities in Kazakhstan after IS had lost nearly all its territory.

To make this documentary, filmmaker and producer Shahida Tulaganova went to the camps in Syria and Iraq where the wives and children of IS fighters were held, and then went to Kazakhstan to meet with some of the women whom the Kazakh government had returned.

Kazakhstan is not the only government in Central Asia to bring citizens back home after they left to join IS and other extremist groups in Iraq and Syria.

There has been praise for those governments for making such a move, but the guests in this week’s program say the results are mixed and far from everyone who has been brought home is reformed or repentant.

On this week's Majlis podcast, RFE/RL's media-relations manager Muhammad Tahir moderates a discussion that looks at the effectiveness, and lack thereof, of bringing back those who willingly left to join extremist groups in the Middle East.

This week's guests are: from Britain, Shahida Tulaganova who made the documentary; from Harvard University where she is a visiting fellow, Vera Mironova, author of the book From Freedom Fighters To Jihadists: Human Resources Of Non-State Armed Groups; and Bruce Pannier, the author of the Qishloq Ovozi blog.

Mixed Results For Women Jihadists Brought Back To Kazakhstan
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Listen to the podcast above or subscribe to the Majlis on iTunes or on Google Podcasts.

People line up to buy food at a state shop in Ashgabat. Turkmenistan, where people's lives continue to be badly affected by decades of corruption and misrule. (file photo)

The government of Turkmenistan combines some of the most odious aspects of misrule seen in the world today.

It's a police state where the slightest expression of dissent provokes extreme responses while a small group of people around the president continually siphon off the country's money, leaving citizens in poverty.

Information provided by authorities is, at best, unreliable, and in the worst case, ridiculously false, such as the claim that there have never been any cases of coronavirus in the country.

A recent report from the U.S.-based NGO Crude Accountability delves deeply into the corruption, nepotism, and misrule that have characterized Turkmenistan's government through nearly 30 years and two presidents.

On this week's Majlis podcast, RFE/RL media-relations manager, Muhammad Tahir, moderates a discussion that looks at the report and more about what has been happening in Turkmenistan in recent days.

This week's guests are: from Britain, the author of the Crude Accountability report Tom Mayne, who is also a researcher at the University of Exeter; from London, Maximilian Hess, currently a fellow with the Philadelphia-based Foreign Policy Research Institute; from Prague, Farruh Yusupov, the director of RFE/RL's Turkmen Service, known locally as Azatlyk; and Bruce Pannier, the author of the Qishloq Ovozi blog.

Just How Bad Has The Situation Become In Turkmenistan?
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Listen to the podcast above or subscribe to the Majlis on iTunes or on Google Podcasts.

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About This Blog

Qishloq Ovozi is a blog by RFE/RL Central Asia specialist Bruce Pannier that aims to look at the events that are shaping Central Asia and its respective countries, connect the dots to shed light on why those processes are occurring, and identify the agents of change.

Content draws on the extensive knowledge and contacts of RFE/RL's Central Asian services but also allow scholars in the West, particularly younger scholars who will be tomorrow’s experts on the region, opportunities to share their views on the evolving situation at this Eurasian crossroad.

The name means "Village Voice" in Uzbek. But don't be fooled, Qishloq Ovozi is about all of Central Asia.

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