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Tajikistan: UN Official Comments On Tajik Fighting

Dushanbe, 4 December 1996 (RFE/RL) - The UN representative in Tajikistan, Gerd Merrem, held a press conference today in the capital Dushanbe to comment on recent fighting in the country's eastern region.

Our correspondent quotes Merrem saying the city of Garm remains under opposition control, while fighting is reportedly continuing in the neighboring district of Chahorsada between the cities of Komsomolobod and Obigarm. Merrem quoted Islamic opposition leader Sayid Abdullohi Nuri calling on both sides to cease fighting.

The opposition captured Garm, 200 kilometers east of Dushanbe, last Sunday, and has been attempting to push a battalion of government forces away from its outskirts. Itar-Tass earlier today quoted Tajik military officials as saying the opposition had launched a new offensive at Garm. The officials said the attack was repulsed. There is no independent confirmation of the report.

Meanwhile, in an interview with RFE/RL the deputy chairman of the Tajik opposition, Akbar Turajonzode, strongly denied an ITAR-TASS report which quoted him saying the opposition would attack Russians in Tajikistan if the Russian air force intervened in the fighting.