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DUSHANBE -- A group of armed men attacked a police checkpoint near the eastern Tajik town of Tavil-Dara overnight, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.

Police fended off the attackers, reportedly wounding several of them, before the armed group retreated.

Tajik officials could not say for certain how many attackers there were, but some officials linked the assailants to a group of some 300 fighters led by Mullo Abdullo who reportedly crossed the border from Afghanistan several weeks ago and have been hiding in the mountains.

Tavil-Dara is located in the rugged Pamir Mountains some 20 kilometers from the Afghan border and during Tajikistan's 1992-97 civil war was used as a base by Islamist fighters.

The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), a group connected to Al-Qaeda, has also used Tavil-Dara as a basing area in the past and there are concerns the attack may have been carried out by IMU militants who have returned from Afghanistan or Pakistan.

There have also been attacks attributed to IMU militants in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan since late May.
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