by Nathan Hamm on 1/5/2005

Tajik police and special forces recently clashed with the family of Ali Aminov, a member of Bayat. Eurasia Daily Monitor has the scoop on this terrorist organization that appeared recently and is charged with the murder of the head of Tajikistan’s Baptist community and the torching of mosques led by imams loyal to the government.

Bayat is not affiliated with such outlawed organizations as Hizb-ut-Tahrir (HUT) or the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), which are better known in the region. Nor does Bayat maintain any links with the only legally functioning Islamic organization: the Party of Islamic Revival of Tajikistan. According to some sources, the Bayat activists are Tajik citizens who previously had fought on the side of the Taliban movement in Afghanistan, and some of them are now imprisoned at the American military base in Guantanamo, Cuba. A connection between Bayat and the IMU should not be ruled out, however, because IMU militants have been known to operate in the Fergana Valley, and they also fought along side the Afghan Taliban members (see EDM, May 3, 2004). Currently Bayat is trying to spread its influence to neighboring countries. Thus, a branch of the Bayat movement was recently opened in Osh, Kyrgyzstan (Vecherny Bishkek, December 29).

For more, including information on the Isfara region where the clash with the Aminovs took plce, see EDM.

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Nathan is the founder and Principal Analyst for Registan, which he launched in 2003. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan 2000-2001 and received his MA in Central Asian Studies from the University of Washington in 2007. Since 2007, he has worked full-time as an analyst, consulting with private and government clients on Central Asian affairs, specializing in how socio-cultural and political factors shape risks and opportunities and how organizations can adjust their strategic and operational plans to account for these variables. More information on Registan's services can be found here, and Nathan can be contacted via Twitter or email.

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