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Tajik Civil War Commander Detained In Dubai

DUSHANBE -- A former commander of Tajik government forces during the country's five-year civil war who is wanted in Tajikistan on charges of murder, robbery, hostage taking, and other crimes, has been detained in the United Arab Emirates.

Interior Ministry spokesman Umarjon Emomali told RFE/RL on August 14 that Tajik and U.A.E. officials were discussing Khuja Karimov's extradition to Tajikistan.

The online newspaper on August 14 quoted unnamed officials as saying that Karimov was arrested on July 30 in the U.A.E. at Tajikistan's request.

Tajikistan's civil war lasted from 1992 until 1997 and poised rebel groups consisting of a combination of liberal democratic reformers and Islamists against the government forces supported by Russian troops.

According to estimates, between 20,000 and 100,000 people were killed during the conflict, which ended after a peace accord was signed by the sides in Moscow.

Karimov, known as Commander Khuja, was notorious for his cruelty during the conflict.

After the war, he was a deputy commander of a special brigade at the Defense Ministry and the chairman of the soccer federation before he fled Tajikistan for Malaysia.

Tajik authorities launched a criminal case against Karimov in September 2005.