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Four Tajiks Jailed In First Al-Qaeda Trial

DUSHANBE (Reuters) -- Tajikistan's Supreme Court has handed down long prison terms to four men found guilty of terrorism, in the ex-Soviet state's first trial of Al-Qaeda members, its security service has said.

Tajikistan, an impoverished mountainous nation, counts on investment from former imperial master Russia, but has also been courted by Washington as a key transit route for U.S. troops fighting the Taliban in neighboring Afghanistan.

It secured the extradition of the four Tajik nationals from Afghanistan.

"The investigation established that...[these four] went to Afghanistan in the early 1990s and took an active part in war actions in Afghanistan and Pakistan on Al-Qaeda's side," the Tajik State Committee on National Security said in a statement.

The court sentenced two of them to 15 years in a high-security prison and the others to eight years each.