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Tajikistan: Border Guards, Drug Traffickers Clash

Dushanbe, 6 August 1997 (RFE/RL) -- Russian border guards and drug traffickers have fought two gunbattles along the Tajik border which left one border guard and one drug trafficker dead.

News reports say at least five drug traffickers were wounded in the overnight shootouts. Agence France Presse reports that the border guards detained three of the gunmen.

According to the Russian border guard command, the border guards seized 65 kilograms of drugs. Border guard spokesman Dmitry Romantovsky said the traffickers had tried to cross into Tajikistan from Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, Interfax reports Tajik President Emomali Rakhmonov as saying in Dushanbe today that drug flow from Afghanistan has become a very serious threat. He commented during a meeting with visiting U.S Senator Charles Robb (D-Virginia) and urged more help from the United States in combatting drug traffic.