Nurek is one of tourist destination cities in Tajikistan, but today, it residents are scared and avoid talking.  The brutal attack on foreign cyclists in the Danghara district has turned the city’s everyday life.  

The merchant selling fruits at the local bazaar, who introduced himself as Mansour, says many residents of the city are ashamed of the fact that residents of Nurek -- brothers Jaffariddin Yusupov and Asliddin Yusupov -- participated in that brutal attack.

People on the streets, whom Asia-Plus reports walked up to, feared to speak on this subject and the brothers’ immediate neighbors said that they did not know that family and those young men…     

A young local resident, who introduced himself as Khusrav, said that it was dangerous to speak on this subject.

“There was a case in which two young women were discussing those guys on the way home.  In half an hour, they were summoned to the law enforcement authorities for questioning.  Therefore, people are scared,” Khusrav noted. 


One million USD for terrorist act

Nurek is a small city and rumors are spread here fast. Thus, there are rumors among local residents that brothers Jaffariddin Yusupov and Asliddin Yusupov received big money.

“It is said that they received one million U.S. dollars for that,” says one of Asia-Plus interlocutors. 

In the brutal attack that took place on July 29, a car rammed into the group of cyclists before multiple attackers emerged from the vehicle and stabbed survivors, killing two Americans, a Swiss, and a Dutch national. Three other foreigners were injured in the attack before the assailants sped off.

Of the five men named as attackers, only one – Hussein Abdusamadov -- is still alive.  He was reportedly arrested early on July 30. Officials said the other four, including brothers Jaffariddin Yusupov, 26, and Asliddin Yusupov, 21, were killed when police tried to apprehend them.

Asliddin and Jaffariddin were residents of Nurek.  Their mother, Nabotbegim Yusupova, says her sons were well-bred and studied not bad at school.  According to her, they were not very religious and “somebody deceived them and led astray.”  

Meanwhile, Radio Liberty’s Tajik Service says two others of the four dead suspects, Asomiddin Majidov and Zafarjon Safarov, were 19-year-old relatives of Hussein Abdusamadov, the alleged ringleader behind July's deadly attack on foreign cyclists. They were reportedly from the village of Selga in Khatlon province.   Both traveled to Russia in late February after failing university entrance exams in 2017.  According to Tajik authorities, they had returned to Tajikistan two days before the attack on the cyclists.

According to RFE/RL Tajiks Service, Hussein Abdusamadov spent his early childhood in the village of Selga, in Khatlon province, near Tajikistan’s border with Afghanistan. His father died in 1988 when he was 3 years old.

By the early 1990s, as the newly independent Tajikistan descended into civil war, he and his mother and two brothers had resettled in Dushanbe, which had more than half a million residents.

From the age of 10, Abdusamadov attended what was known as the Presidential Lyceum, a prestigious boarding school with long-standing ties to the government and high education standards.  After graduation, in 2002, he enrolled in the international relations program at the Tajik State University of Commerce, where he was elected head of the student council.

According to his mother Gulchehra Shodmonova, around that time she noticed Hussein and another son in the company of a local religious man named Nosirkhoja Ubaidov, also known as Qori Nosir.  She blamed Qori Nosir -- who authorities would subsequently allege was a recruiter and agent for radical Islamists -- for influencing her son and convincing him to drop out of university in 2004.