DUSHANBE -- Tajikistan's Interior Ministry says two more gunmen have been killed in Rasht, an eastern district where authorities have been targeting Islamic militants for two months, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.
The two were killed November 14, but ministry spokesman Jaloliddin Sadriddin only confirmed the news on November 23.
Sadriddin identified one of them as Dodarbek Karimov, 45, from Dushanbe, a suspected member of the banned Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) for whom an arrest warrant was first issued in 2006. The second was named as Mashrab Ubaydulloev, 28, from Isfara in northern Tajikistan.
The counterterrorism operation in Rasht began in mid-September and has cost the lives of at least 60 Tajik servicemen. Sadriddin said the operation will continue until the militants' leaders, Alovuddin Davlatov (Ali Bedaki) and Abdullo Rahimov (Mullo Abdullo), are "neutralized."
On November 9, the head of the State Committee for National Security, Saymumin Yatimov, said that the operation in Rasht was almost over. He recalled that some 20 gunmen had been killed and some 30 others either surrendered or sided with government forces in pursuit of the militants.
Meanwhile, phone and Internet connections with Rasht , which were suspended at the start of the operation, have still not been restored.
Ghafur Erkaev, a spokesperson for the Association of Tajikistan's Mobile Communication Providers, told RFE/RL that all communication equipment is currently under the control of the police and military, and they will decide when communications should be restored.
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