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Purported IS Attack Killed More Tajik Border Guards Than Dushanbe Admits

Updated

The November 7 funeral ceremony for Izatullo Latifiov, a Tajik border guard killed in the attack.

DUSHANBE -- Sources in Tajikistan have told RFE/RL that the number of Tajik security officers killed in a November 6 attack by Islamic State (IS) extremists is seven -- five higher than authorities in Dushanbe have officially admitted.

The State Committee for National Security previously said that police officer Bahrom Qosimzoda and border guard Izatullo Latifiov were killed in the early hours of November 6 when 20 IS militants attacked a border post near Uzbekistan, located in Tajikistan's Rudaki district about 60 kilometers southwest of Dushanbe

Officials initially said the attackers came from neighboring Afghanistan. They said 15 militants were killed and five were captured.

However, local authorities, sources in the capital Dushanbe, and sources in other parts of Tajikistan told RFE/RL on November 8 that at least five more border guards were killed in the attack.

The sources say Dilovar Tolibov, Hofiz Hasanov, Naimjon Saidolimov, Ghanijon Davlat, and an unidentified border guard were buried on November 7.

Meanwhile, an online statement purportedly issued by the IS group on November 8 claimed responsibility for the attack, saying the IS militants had killed 10 Tajik border guards.

Tajikistan's Interior Ministry said earlier on November 8 that the attack was carried out by IS fighters, "mostly citizens of Tajikistan" who had crossed into the country from Afghanistan.

Afghanistan's Defense Ministry has said that it did not believe there was any connection between the attack and Afghanistan.

In September, Tajik authorities said one Tajik border guard was killed during clashes between residents from both sides of the Tajik-Kyrgyz border. But regional authorities said later that three border guards were killed as a result of the unrest.

The latest incident took place on Tajikistan's Constitution Day, a national holiday.

President Emomali Rahmon was out of the country on an official trip to Europe at the time, accompanied by about two dozen ministers.

With reporting by Reuters and AFP
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