Tajikistan’s Fallen Hero: Asliddin Khursandov

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You are not Forgotten.

Berlin, Brussels (12/5 – 40)

In the vast and remote mountain lands of Central Asia, the Ismaili Pamiris have long faced systemic discrimination and persecution at the hands of the Tajik government. Despite their proud history, rich cultural traditions, and highly educated populace, they have been targeted for cultural extermination in a chilling campaign of ethnic cleansing. Tajikistan President Imomali Rahmon has demonized them as “inbred” and “criminals” and launched a brutal program to replace their community with ethnic Tajiks. In May and June 2022, the government launched a final assault on the Pamiris to end their autonomy and bring them under the total control of the state. Heavily armed security forces rampaged into the town of Vanj, where protestors calling for respect for human rights had peacefully blocked the Pamiri Highway. There and in other towns of the Gorno-Badakhshan region (GBAO), protestors and passers-by were shot dead, maimed, and taken to prisons to be tortured and degraded. Asliddin Khursandov was just one of the many innocent victims of this genocidal campaign.

Asliddin Khursandov had participated in the public protests in Vamar on May 18, 2022. According to reports, Asliddin and his friend, Mukhiddin Kurbonasenov, sought refuge in the mountains to evade the gunfire and brutality of Rahmon regime’s security officers in town. While hiding there, helicopter snipers found them and he was shot to death.

Asliddin died at the age of 30 and was buried in the town cemetery, along with some of the other 21 Derzud victims of the Tajik security forces.

Asliddin was a graduate from the school in Rushon district. His parents are from the middle working class. His only brother, 28-year-old Ibrahim Khursandov, was also arrested by the regime.