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Tajik Civil War Commander Extradited From U.A.E. May Face More Charges

Khuja Karimov (file photo)

DUSHANBE -- A former Tajik commander extradited to Dushanbe from the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) in recent days may face more charges, the Central Asian country's Interior Ministry said on February 20.

Khuja Karimov -- who was a commander of government troops during Tajikistan's five-year civil war -- has been charged with banditry, murder, hostage-taking, torture, and illegal weapons possession, the ministry said in a statement, adding that more charges might be filed against Karimov.

Karimov was shown on state television on February 19 while officials called on Tajiks who were victims of Karimov's alleged crimes, witnessed such crimes, or were in possession of any information about them to contact the police.

Karimov, 59, was arrested in the U.A.E. in July 2019 at Tajikistan's request.

The Interior Ministry on February 17 announced that Karimov, 59, had been extradited from the U.A.E.

Tajikistan's civil war lasted from 1992 until 1997, pitting rebel groups consisting of a combination of liberal democratic reformers and Islamists against Russian-backed Tajik government forces.

According to wide-ranging estimates, somewhere between 20,000 and 100,000 people were killed during the conflict.

The war ended after a peace accord was signed in Moscow by the rival sides.

Karimov, known as Commander Khuja, was notorious for his reported cruelty during the conflict.

After the war, he was a deputy commander of a special brigade at the Defense Ministry and the chairman of Tajikistan’s Football Federation.

Karimov fled Tajikistan for Malaysia after Tajik authorities launched criminal charges against him in September 2005.