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A.M. Agenda 08.31.2017


Pakistani local residents gathered around a destroyed vehicle hit by a drone strike, 05.21.2017

A.M. Agenda 08.31.2017

Amnesty Scheme Prompts Return Of Taliban Figures To Afghanistan

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.

Expert Contacts:

Abubakar Siddique, Editor of RFE/RL’s Gandhara blog
siddiquea@rferl.org -- Location: Prague Headquarters

Hamid Mohmand, Bureau Chief of RFE/RL’s Afghan Service
mohmandh@rferl.org -- Location: Kabul, Afghanistan

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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.

Expert Contacts

Sojida Djakhfarova, Director of RFE/RL’s Tajik Service
djakhfarovas@rferl.org -- Location: Prague Headquarters

Bruce Pannier, Editor of RFE/RL’s Qishloq Ovozi blog,
pannierb@rferl.org -- Location: Prague Headquarters

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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.

Expert Contacts:

Mikhail Sokolov, Correspondent of RFE/RL’s Russian Service
sokolovm@rferl.org -- Moscow, Russia

Sergey Khazov-Cassia, Correspondent of RFE/RL’s Russian Service
khazov-cassias@rferl.org -- Location: Prague Headquarters

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How Chechnya Forcibly Reconciles Families

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.

Expert Contacts:

Aslan Doukaev, Director of RFE/RL’s North Caucasus Service
doukaeva@rferl.org -- Location: Prague Headquarters

Valery Dzutsati, Correspondent of RFE/RL’s North Caucasus Service
dzutsativ@rferl.org -- Location: Prague Headquarters

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