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Militant Leader Reportedly Killed In Eastern Tajikistan

DUSHANBE -- Tajik security officials say government forces have killed insurgent leader Nemat Azizov in the eastern Tavil-Dara district, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.

Officers from the Interior Ministry's Special Forces announced late on July 27 that Azizov -- also known as Sheikh Nemat -- and some of his followers were tracked down in a remote mountainous village about 20 kilometers from Tavil-Dara's administrative center.

They said Azizov refused to surrender and was killed in a shoot-out.

Azizov, 41, was a commander of the armed Islamic opposition during Tajikistan's 1992-97 civil war.

After signing the peace treaty, Azizov and several others from the opposition joined the government.

Azizov served as head of the Emergency Situations Ministry in Tavil-Dara.

Earlier this month, the Tajik Interior Ministry and the National Security Committee blamed Azizov for the death of a former Emergency Situations minister and civil-war-era commander, Mirzo Ziyoev.

Tajik authorities also accused him of murder in the deaths of several soldiers and of involvement in the drug business.

But former opposition commander Olim Odilov, who later joined the Interior Ministry, said Azizov had no role in Ziyoev's killing or in drug trafficking.