A.M. Agenda 08.31.2017
An amnesty scheme pioneered by General Abdul Razziq, the powerful commander of Afghanistan’s southern province of Kandahar, is prompting Taliban militants to return to the country. The beneficiaries of the so-called “safe zone project” so far include 15 senior Taliban leaders, with more expected. General Razziq says the scheme offers a real solution to undercut Pakistan’s sway over Taliban forces and provide a path to peace.
Abubakar Siddique, Editor of RFE/RL’s Gandhara blog
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Hamid Mohmand, Bureau Chief of RFE/RL’s Afghan Service
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Russia Gears Up Its Influence In Tajikistan
Dozens of Russian teachers have arrived in Tajikistan on the eve of the new school year to work in local schools, reportedly to promote the Russian language and culture. The decision is part of an influence campaign waged by Russia that has seen Moscow expand its media presence in the country and send 100 vehicles to reinforce its military base in the town of Kulob.
Sojida Djakhfarova, Director of RFE/RL’s Tajik Service
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Bruce Pannier, Editor of RFE/RL’s Qishloq Ovozi blog,
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Yanukovych Crimea Residence Ends Up In Kremlin Hands
The investigative group Municipal Scanner reports that companies associated with Russian President Vladimir Putin's closest associates have acquired an unfinished residence in Crimea that previously belonged to former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. The change of ownership, which followed Moscow’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, occurred despite statements by the peninsula’s Russia-backed authorities in 2016 calling the construction illegal, promising to transfer the residence to the state, and pledging to remove a surrounding fence that blocks a popular hiking route.
Mikhail Sokolov, Correspondent of RFE/RL’s Russian Service
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Sergey Khazov-Cassia, Correspondent of RFE/RL’s Russian Service
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Chechen strongman Ramzan Kadyrov has created a commission to reunite 1,000 divorced couples, claiming that children from “incomplete” families are more susceptible to the influence of extremists. The commission has enlisted imams, local authorities, and security officials to compile lists of divorced people; the “reconciliation” process has had both comic and tragic moments, while raising concerns about basic rights and security in the rogue republic.
Aslan Doukaev, Director of RFE/RL’s North Caucasus Service
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Valery Dzutsati, Correspondent of RFE/RL’s North Caucasus Service
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