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Kyrgyz President Wants Tajikistan To Help Patrol Borders

President Bakiev (file photo) (RFE/RL) BISHKEK, May 15, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiev today called for enhanced cooperation with neighboring Tajikistan in fighting alleged Islamic militants.

In an interview with RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service, Bakiev said closer collaboration among the security agencies of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan could help prevent a repeat of a deadly May 12 incident, when gunmen attacked border posts of both countries,

"If there had been closer ties between the border-guard administrations and Interior ministries of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, we wouldn't have lost six people," Bakiev said. "Four soldiers, one customs official, and one civilian were killed [on the Kyrgyz side]. [With better cooperation] there would not have been such big losses."

Tajik officials said the gunmen assaulted one of its border posts in Soghd Province's Isfarah district before entering Kyrgyzstan. Kyrgyz security forces said they subsequently killed four of the gunmen -- whom they describe as Islamic militants -- and captured another.

The identities and motives of the raiders remain unclear.

Tajikistan today said it had dispatched security reinforcements in the border area.

(with additional reporting from Asia Plus and Avesta)

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