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Special Forces Commander Killed In Tajik Clashes

  • RFE/RL's Tajik Service

Rustam Amakiev was a colonel in Tajikistan's "Alfa" special force unit. (file photo)

Rustam Amakiev was a colonel in Tajikistan's "Alfa" special force unit. (file photo)

Clashes have been reported in Tajikistan between government forces and fighters loyal to a former deputy defense minister blamed by Dushanbe for recent attacks.

According to RFE/RL's Tajik Service, a commander of the "Alfa" special forces unit -- Colonel Rustam Amakiev -- was killed in the fighting in the Romit Gorge east of the Tajik capital, Dushanbe.

Another special forces fighter was also killed in the gunbattle that began late on September 15.

Two Interior Ministry troops were reportedly wounded.

A source involved in the special operation told RFE/RL's Tajik Service that former Deputy Defense Minister Abduhalim Nazarzoda was among several militants killed by security forces on September 16. That information has not been officially confirmed.

Tajik officials blame Nazarzoda and his supporters for September 4 attacks on a police station and an arsenal near Dushanbe, which left 26 people dead, including nine police officers and 17 suspected militants.

The violence sparked fresh fears of unrest in the former Soviet republic.

At a security summit in Dushanbe on September 15, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tajikistan could count on Russian "help and support" to ensure stability in the country.

With reporting by TASS
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