DUSHANBE (Reuters) - Tajik border guards have shot dead a group of Afghan drug smugglers and seized more than 250 kilograms of opium and other drugs, a border-guard spokeswoman said.
Tajikistan lies on the main trafficking route out of neighboring Afghanistan -- the world's top producer of opium and its refined form, heroin -- to Western Europe.
Yelena Alekseyeva, the spokeswoman, said a number of Afghan smugglers were killed in a shoot-out with Tajik forces on the border but could not say how many.
"During the operation, a large quantity of drugs was seized and a number of criminals were killed," she said.
With treacherous terrain and leaky borders, Tajikistan is a haven for drug smuggling out of Afghanistan, which produced a record 8,200 tons of opium last year.
The impoverished nation has struggled to contain the problem since independence from Moscow, with analysts saying its security forces intercept only a fraction of the total traffic.