National Security Service (Uzbekistan)

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National Security Service
Milliy Xavfsizlik Xizmati
Служба национальной безопасности
File:Uzbek SNB uniform patch.jpg
Agency overview
Formed Around 1991, following collapse of USSR
Type Intelligence, internal security, secret police
Jurisdiction  Uzbekistan
Agency executive
Child agencies

The National Security Service (Uzbek Milliy Xavfsizlik Xizmati, MXX; in Russian Служба национальной безопасности, СНБ, often romanised as SNB) is the national intelligence agency of the government of Uzbekistan. It was created as a successor to the KGB following the collapse of the Soviet Union, and retains the same responsibilities and a similar range of functional units, including paramilitary police and special forces. The SNB was a rival of the Interior Ministry until 2005, when it was brought under its control.

The SNB is described by Amnesty International and the Institute for War and Peace Reporting as a secret police force.[1][2]


Rustam Inoyatov has been the head of the SNB since 1995. [3]

The deputy director of the SNB was in 2005 appointed Minister of the Interior.[4] A reorganisation of the security and counter-terrorism agencies in the aftermath of the Andijan massacre significantly increased the power and resources of the SNB.[4][5]

Some analysts maintain that the SNB is under the control of the Tashkent clan, a powerful faction within the Uzbek elite.[4][5]

Activities and human rights abuses

The SNB has been closely associated with the authoritarian administration of President Islam Karimov, and has been accused of involvement in human rights abuses and in sponsoring acts of terrorism to provide a pretext for repressive policing. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty has reported claims that the 1999 Tashkent bombings were carried out by the SNB, then led by Rustam Inoyatov of the Tashkent clan, and that the SNB may also have been responsible for a series of bombings in 2004 in Tashkent and Bukhara.[6]


The U.S. Department of State's 2004 Country Report on Human Rights Practices in Uzbekistan stated that SNB officials "tortured, beat, and harassed" citizens.[7]

Andijan massacre

On 13 May 2005 SNB troops, along with military and Interior Ministry forces, killed a large number of protesters in Andijan, in an event that became known as the Andijan massacre.[8][9] Estimates of those killed range widely, from the official figure of 187 to upwards of 1,000.[8][10][11][12] The protests related to the arrest of a group of local businessmen, and the massacre was preceded by disorder including, according to Pravda, an attempt to seize the regional headquarters of the SNB.[13]

Internet censorship

The OpenNet Initiative reports that the SNB is extensively involved in Internet censorship. The OpenNet Initiative reports that the SNB:

"monitors the Uzbek sector of the Internet and 'stimulates' ISPs and Internet cafés to practice self-censorship. Soviet-style censorship structures were replaced by 'monitoring sections' that work under SNB’s guidance. There is no mandatory government prepublication review, but ISPs risk having their licenses revoked if they post 'inappropriate' information. Occasionally, the SNB orders ISPs to block access to opposition or religious Web sites. A survey of internet filtering practices among Uzbek ISPs was conducted by ONI in January 2007. Respondents confirmed that they use filtering applications including SquidGuard and FortiGuard. The SNB's censorship is selective and often targets articles on government corruption, violations of human rights, and organized crime. Usually, it affects URL-specific pages instead of top-level domain names. Uzbek ISPs block entire Web sites or individual pages upon SNB's unofficial requests. Accessing a blocked page redirects the user to a search engine or to an error message such as 'You are not authorized to view this page.' The retransmission of blocked channels is also prohibited.[14]


The SNB is known to have special purpose units "Alfa", "Cobra", and "Scorpion" under its direct command. [15] The Border Service[16] and Customs Service[17] of Uzbekistan answer to the SNB since being placed under its control in 2005.