DUSHANBE -- At least 22 Tajik State National Security Commitee personnel and four crew members were killed on the morning of October 6, when a Tajik National Guard helicopter crashed in the Rasht district, 200 kilometers east of Dushanbe, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.
Tajik National Guard spokesman Sodiq Shekhov told RFE/RL a preliminary investigation suggested that technical problems caused the crash. He said four people had been hospitalized.
It was the second reported crash of a military helicopter in Rasht this month. Previously, Tajik officials avoided using military helicopters in Rasht because of difficult mountain terrain there.
Tajik government forces launched a special operation to apprehend former opposition fighters in Rasht following an ambush in the region's Kamarob Gorge on September 19 in which at least 26 army conscripts were killed.
Government officials claim Mirzokhuja Ahmadov, Mullo Abdullo Rahimov, and Aloviddin Davlatov, all former commanders of opposition forces in the region, were responsible for that attack.
Telephone communications with Rasht have been disrupted since the search operation began, making it impossible to confirm official reports of what is happening in the east of the country.