MOSCOW — Fresh fears of violence in Tajikistan arose Thursday, hours after a new parliamentary leader was elected and a deputy secret police chief was killed in an ambush on the streets of Dushanbe, the capital of the war-torn Central Asian state.
The late-night assassination of Jurabek Aminov, a senior politician who had tried to broker a peace between Islamic fundamentalists and pro-Communist forces embroiled in a civil war, seemed certain to spark new bloodshed.
The powerful Tajik security police, successor in Tajikistan to the Soviet Union's KGB, almost immediately issued a statement vowing to avenge Aminov's death by finding the gunmen and bringing them to trial, Russia's Itar-Tass news agency reported. But the officers pledged not to get involved in "political fighting."
The ambush carried out late Wednesday night by gunmen armed with a rocket-propelled grenade--came shortly after the Tajik Parliament elected a new chairman in an attempt to rebuild the country's leadership and restart peace negotiations.
Wednesday's vote placed Imomali Rakhmonov, a leader of the violence-racked Kulyab region, at the head of Tajikistan's government. He replaces Akbarsho Iskandarov, who resigned from the post.
Civil war and clan conflict in Tajikistan, a nation of 5.3 million wedged between China and Afghanistan, have caused thousands of deaths and displaced an estimated 250,000 people.