Tajikistan’s Fallen Hero: Ardasher Munosibov

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You are not Forgotten.

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In the vast mountain lands of Central Asia, a small ethnic group located at the crossroads of Afghanistan, China, and Russia is struggling for its very survival in the face of a national program that, some experts argued, is tantamount to ethnic cleansing.  The Pamiris of Tajikistan were granted autonomy by the USSR and reside in Gorno-Badakhshan region known as the GBAO. For years, the Pamiris’ ancient traditions, peaceful religious faith, and highly educated populace, accused by Tajikistan President Imomali Rahmon of being “inbred” and run by “criminals”, have faced a state campaign that replaces the Pamiri society with ethnic Tajiks. This re-engineering of the GBAO climaxed in May and June 2022, when security forces stormed up the Pamiri Highway that leads to China and killed, wounded, arrested, and tortured hundreds of Pamiris who had been protesting the government’s abuse of human rights in GBAO.  Ardasher Munosibov was one of the victims.

Between 17 and 18 May, Munosibov participated in the protest against the government in Vamar, a district town which name has now become synonymous with the word “massacre” among the Pamiris. Munosibov was shot in the leg by the state intelligence service and riot troops. As the regime gunfire blocked access to the town hospital, he sought first aid in his home village.

Concerned about his mother, Munosibov returned to Vamar shortly after. However, his car was pulled over by the GKNB, the state intelligence service, and he was brought to the nearby Border Troops base.  There, he was forced to dress in an Afghan Islamist uniform and hold weapons in front of a camera. He was then tortured extensively, and verbally humiliated for his ethnicity and faith. He was executed with a shot through his mouth, disemboweled, and his ears cut off.  When his mother saw his broken, disfigured body, she fainted in horror.

Munosibov died at the age of 26 and was buried in the town cemetery, along with some of the other 21 Derzud victims of the Tajik security forces.

Munosibov was from the town of Derzud in Rushan district, just across the Panj river from Afghanistan. He studied programming at Dushanbe Technological University, where he graduated with honours in 2019.  Since childhood, Munosibov stood out among his peers with his exemplary morals. By nature, he was calm, had a great sense of humour, and he was esteemed by many for his natural kindness.  Munosibov excelled at volleyball and played on the village team. His father worked as a bus driver in Moscow, and his mother was a nurse at the district hospital. Despite his efforts, he was unable to find work in his chosen field

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