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Tajikistan

At Least 42 Killed In Tajik Clashes

The government operation was targeting Tolib Ayombekov, a former opposition commander and current regional border guard head.
The government operation was targeting Tolib Ayombekov, a former opposition commander and current regional border guard head.
By RFE/RL's Tajik Service
DUSHANBE – Tajik officials say 12 government troops and 30 militants have been killed as government troops, backed by helicopters, launched an operation targeting a group suspected of involvement in the killing of a top Tajik security official.

Nozirjon Buriev, a spokesman for the State Committee for National Security, told RFE/RL's Tajik Service that some 40 militants, including eight Afghan nationals, were arrested during the military operation in the eastern Badakhshon Province.  

Buriev rejected earlier reports about civilian casualties. 

"Unfortunately, 12 law enforcement officers were killed and 23 were wounded during the operation," he said. "There were no civilian casualties."

The official said the government operation was targeting Tolib Ayombekov, a former opposition commander and current regional border guard head.

"The armed, illegal group led by Ayombekov has, over the years, been involved in drug trafficking and also tobacco smuggling and the trafficking of minerals. It has also committed numerous, serious crimes," Buriev said. "On July 21st, the group brutally murdered General Abdullo Asadulloevich Nazarov, the regional head of the State Committee for National Security."  

Buriev said the military operation was still under way in the provincial capital, Khorugh.

Tajikistan’s Interior Ministry and State Committee for National Security issued a joint statement earlier on July 24 saying special units of the presidential guard, the Interior Ministry, the State Committee for National Security, and an elite security unit called "Alfa" were taking part in the operation.

Local citizens say sounds of gunfire and explosions could be heard as the operation took place.

Reports also say employees of international humanitarian organizations were evacuated to safer locations and local residents were told not to go to work.
    
Nazarov, 56, was reportedly stabbed to death while visiting the region's south on July 21.

It was described as the first attack on a high-ranking security officer in Tajikistan in the past few years. Investigators have linked the killing to illegal tobacco-related businesses.

Tobacco is one of the region's key agricultural products, purchased by local tobacco factories and enterprises in neighboring Kyrgyzstan.

Officials said on July 23 that two suspects allegedly involved in Nazarov's murder had been arrested.  

The mountainous Badakhshon Autonomous Province -- a sparsely populated region in the Pamir mountain range -- has a population of around 250,000 people and borders Afghanistan, China, and Kyrgyzstan.

The region mainly supported the opposition during Tajikistan's civil war in the 1990s. Reports say local attitudes toward the government remain chilly.


With reporting by AFP and AP
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Comments
     
by: Aibek
July 24, 2012 10:44
There is little control from Dushanbe over the regions in Gorno-Badakhshan. Yet another article on RFE/RL about foreign tourists attending an "At Chabysh" festival in the eastern part of the region. How did they get there? From China? From Kyrgyzstan?
In Response

by: Anonymous
July 24, 2012 15:11
Little control doesn't mean that the region is unaccessible from Tajikistan. Visiting GBAO requires a governmental permit though - before the clashes took place it took me 15 minutes to get one in Dushanbe.
In Response

by: Aibek
July 25, 2012 04:28
Thanks for the info. The few Tajiks I know who are still in Tajikistan say they never go there, only people with family there visit. And some Kyrgyz came back from Tajikistan some years back, they lived in GBAO.

by: Said from: Tajikistan
July 24, 2012 15:20
The West supports despots like Mubarak, Rahmonov and Aliyev and than complains of violence. Hypocracy!
In Response

by: Jimmy from: Jew
July 24, 2012 22:02
so true

by: Bakhtiyor Safarov from: USA
July 24, 2012 16:33
Petition to the President of the Republic of Tajikistan

We Tajiks living in the United States appeal to President to protect the civilian population of Badakhshan, and declares the following:
- Immediately and unconditionally cease hostilities and withdraw mobilized military units from the region.
- Open a humanitarian corridor to provide medical assistance to populations affected by the operation.
- Conduct a comprehensive investigation of the situation within the legal framework and on the basis of current legislation of the Republic of Tajikistan with the assistance of representatives of political parties, international and local NGOs
Tajiks living in the United States also appeal to international organizations for assistance of the seasfire.

by: Tajik from: Tajik
July 27, 2012 00:20
The president did not get his share, after sending his secretary from KGB and read the rest below.

http://www.economist.com/node/21559664

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