Tajik authorities have refused to confirm local media reports that a fugitive former deputy defense minister blamed for recent "terrorist" attacks has been killed by security forces.
Citing unnamed sources, the Asia-Plus and Avesta news agencies reported on September 11 that Abduhalim Nazarzoda was killed in the Romit Gorge east of Dushanbe where he was believed to be hiding along with several supporters.
Tajikistan's interior and defense ministers have declined to confirm the reports.
However, a law enforcement official who did not want to be named told RFE/RL's Tajik Service that authorities "are trying to identify several bodies" brought from Romit.
Police say a "terrorist group" led by Nazarzoda launched a predawn attack at police headquarters in the Vahdat district outside Dushanbe on September 4 and later clashed with government forces in the capital, killing nine police officers before escaping to Romit.
Security forces launched a large-scale security operation in Romit in a bid to apprehend Nazarzoda and his supporters.
RFE/RL correspondents at the scene said the operation was continuing in Romit late on September 11.
Police say around 20 members of the group have been killed and some 100 others arrested during the operation and that weapons and vehicles have been seized from the group.
Based on reporting by avesta.tj, news.tj, and RFE/RL's Tajik Service