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Tajik Officials Say Operation In East Is Not Against Warlords

DUSHANBE -- Tajik Interior Ministry forces are conducting special operations against drug traffickers in Tajikistan's Rasht Valley, amid reports that the operation is being used against leading warlords who are hiding in the region, RFER/RL's Tajik Service reports.

Tajik Interior Ministry spokesman Mahmadullo Asadulloev told RFE/RL that the operations have nothing to do with media reports that security forces are moving against former opposition warlord Mirzokhuja Ahmadov and his followers in the eastern part of the country.

Ahmadov, who is the former police official responsible for fighting organized crime in Rasht Valley, said he is confident there are no poppy fields in the region which the government would need to conduct an operation against.

He added that he has no detailed information about the government's operation in the valley.

Local media reported earlier this week that several prominent opposition warlords might be hiding in the Rusht Valley and that the major goal of the state's operations in the region is to locate them.