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Tajikistan: President Orders Commander Back To Barracks

Moscow, 8 January 1997 (RFE/RL) -- Tajikistan's President Emomili Rakhmonov today ordered commander Makhmud Khudoberdiyev and his 200 soldiers to return to their base after Khudoberdiyev's brigade took unauthorized military action near the city of Tursun-Zade, 50 kilometers west of the capital Dushanbe.

Khudoberdiyev, a local warlord with nominal allegiance to the government, told reporters earlier today that his men had clashed near the town with forces belonging to another warlord, Kodir Abdulloev. Abdulloev remains in control of the town of Tursun-Zade, which is home to Central Asia's largest aluminum plant.

A presidential spokesman said Khudoberdiyev would incur "criminal punishment" if he did not follow the order to return his men to their barracks.

Clashes between various warlords over the town of Tursun-Zade were particularly intense last autumn.