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Tajik Officials Say Former Rebel Involved In Deadly Attack On Army

DUSHANBE -- Tajikistan's Interior and Defense ministries say they believe former United Tajik Opposition (UTO) fighter Abdullo Hakimov (aka Mullo Abdullo) played a role in the attack on September 19 in which 25 Tajik soldiers were killed and dozens more injured, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reported.

Interior Ministry spokesman Mahmadullo Asadulloev told RFE/RL that it is also "very likely" that the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), which Mullo Abdullo is believed to be affiliated with, was involved in the attack on the military convoy in the Kamarob Gorge in the Rasht district.

He added that the ministry thinks it was masterminded by Hakimov and Alovuddin Davlatov (aka Ali Bedaki).

Defense Ministry spokesman Faridum Mahmadaliev agreed with Asadulloev. He told RFE/RL on September 22 that the terrorists who perpetrated the attack, none of whom have been apprehended, are foreigners who were helped by local militants like Abdullo and Bedaki.

Meanwhile, Mullo Abdullo's wife, Shamsiya Rahimova, told RFE/RL that she has not seen her husband in 10 years though she still lives in the family home in the village of Kamongaron some 20 kilometers east of Dushanbe.

Rahimova, who has seven children with Mullo Abdullo, said her husband was "not an aggressive person." She said he worked as an electrician and was the village mullah before the outbreak of the Tajik Civil War in 1992.

Mullo Abdullo, who turned 60 this year, rejected the provisions of the peace agreement the Tajik government signed with the UTO in 1997 and later joined the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, which fought against the government during the civil war.

Official sources claim Mullo Abdullo left Tajikistan for Afghanistan in 2000. Unofficial reports say he was detained by international forces in Afghanistan in 2002 and spent several years in an Afghan prison.

Rumors that Mullo Abdullo had returned to Tajikistan began circulating in 2009 but have never been confirmed.