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Assassination Plot Aimed At Destabilizing Tajikistan, Analyst Says

Tajik President Emomali Rahmon visits Roghun in May 2008
DUSHANBE -- A Tajik analyst says an alleged assassination plot against a parliamentary deputy uncovered by the Interior Ministry was part of a plan to hinder support for the Roghun hydropower plant and destabilize Tajikistan ahead of elections, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.

Amrullo Sobir, a Dushanbe-based security and military analyst, told RFE/RL that a reported plan to kill Barakatullo Ahmadov, the mayor of the western Tajik city of Tursunzoda and a member of parliament, would have destabilized the country ahead of next year's parliamentary elections.

Ahmadov was part of a nationwide campaign to collect funds to build the hydropower station.

The Uzbek government strongly opposes construction of the station.

Tajik Interior Ministry spokesman Muhammadjon Narziev told RFE/RL that Haydar Bobomurodov, a 55-year-old resident of Tursunzoda, was arrested on December 9 with 770 grams of TNT in his possession. Narziev said Bobomurodov confessed to plotting to assassinate Ahmadov.

Bobomurodov told investigators that in Uzbekistan's Shurtan region, which borders Tajikistan, he took the explosive material and two mobile phones from Uzbek Abbos Mirzoev with the intention of killing Ahmadov.

Authorities believe Bobomurodov was acting on orders from people associated with Colonel Mahmud Khudoyberdiev, who led at least three armed incursions against the Tajik government in the mid-1990s.

Tursunzoda was the scene of deadly fighting during the country's civil war between varied factions of the former People's Front, which brought President Emomali Rahmon to power in 1992.

Armed supporters of Khudoyberdiev seized the city and the Tajik aluminium plant (TALCO) -- the largest industrial plant in the country -- before being forced out of Tajikistan in 1997 and fleeing to Uzbekistan.

The Tajik government believes Khudoyberdiev's fighters are still in Uzbekistan, something Tashkent denies.