Uzbek Security Forces Reorganized

by Nathan Hamm on 6/6/2005 · 1 comment

Sudden reorganization of security structures began in Uzbekistan, last week. The Interior Ministry is left practically without units. Sources in Tashkent say that some units of the Internal Troops will be turned over to the Defense Ministry, others to the National Security Service. Other sources say that the Interior Ministry only retained a special assignment battalion.

It is, of course, left unsaid why this is happening.

But in the interest of fueling idle political speculation, it’s worth visiting this story from the archives.

Both Rustam Inoyatov, chairman of Uzbekistan’s National Security Service (NSS), and Zakir Almatov, the interior minister who controls Uzbekistan’s vast police force, are believed to harbor ambitions to succeed Karimov, or at least dictate who becomes the president’s successor. The two are perhaps the most powerful political figures in the country after Karimov, as they head the two key components of Uzbekistan’s pervasive state security apparatus.

Inoyatov and Almatov each control what are, in effect, private armies, as both the NSS and Interior Ministry possess independent and heavily-armed military units. In addition, the NSS and Interior Ministry operate their own investigation and surveillance departments, as well as rely on independent communication facilities, transportation and other infrastructure. The rivals also wield considerable influence in Uzbekistan’s business sector. Retired officers are often placed in top positions at enterprises and banks controlled by the two agencies. All of this allows Inoyatov and Almatov to operate their respective government agencies as personal fiefdoms within the state.

Almatov has apparently lost his army.

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– author of 2991 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

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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