Access to social media, news media, and YouTube has been restored in Tajikistan after a temporary ban imposed by the state communications agency, the country's internet providers say.
Sources close to the the state's decision told Interfax that the move is tied to "Water for Life"—an upcoming international conference that's taking place in the capital, Dushanbe, where 1,500 delegates from 99 countries, including UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, will gather.
“Yesterday evening [on June 8], we were instructed to restore direct access to Facebook, to other social networks, and all other major websites that had been blocked after orders from the communications agency,” said the head of one of the country's major Internet providers, who wished to remain anonymous.
In late May, Tajikistan blocked access to social networks Facebook, Odnoklassniki, VKontakte, YouTube, the Tajikistani radio station Ozodi (“Freedom”), and the information agency ASIA-Plus.
No official explanation was given, yet Internet providers said the restrictions may have been a reaction to a video message from a former Tajikistani police commander calling on the country to wage jihad. On May 28, a video was posted online where Colonel Gulmurod Khalimov declared that he had joined the Islamic State. In the message, speaking both Russian and Tajik, he calls on Tajikistan to wage jihad. The colonel says that “the caliphate will reach Tajikistan and reclaim its lands.”