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Tajikistan: Government And Opposition Forces Pull Out Of Conflict Zone

Dushanbe, 6 April 1998 (RFE/RL) -- The Tajikistan government and opposition have both withdrawn their forces from the troubled Kofarnihon area, 20 km east of the capital Dushanbe. Deputy Prime Minister Abdurakhmon Azimov told Reuters that the disengagement agreement reached yesterday has now been fully implemented. Azimov said that several hundred opposition troops had been sent to a new base in the nearby Ramit Gorge, and government troops had been pulled out of the town of Kofarnihon.

A month ago the town was the scene of the fiercest clashes between the government and Islamist opposition since both sides signed a final peace agreement last year. Some 50 government troops are believed to have died plus an unknown number of opposition soldiers.

In another development, a Russian army officer serving in Tajikistan was shot and killed in Dushanbe today as he entered his car.

The pro-Russian government and armed opposition have launched attempts at reconciliation after several years of civil war but the process has been marred by repeated clashes.