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Tajik Government Says Young Rebels Agree To Lay Down Weapons

A street scene in Khorugh
A street scene in Khorugh
The Tajik government says a group of young fighters who were engaged in clashes with security forces have begun to lay down their arms.

The announcement was made by the Interior Ministry, which promised amnesty to the rebels who voluntarily lay down their weapons.

In a statement late on July 28, the ministry said women activists and religious leaders were involved in the negotiations with the young fighters.

Meanwhile, officials and local media said the main regional town of Khorugh was quiet following clashes there during the day between security forces and militants.

Earlier in Dushanbe, Tajik prosecutors said militants had refused to lay down their weapons despite a cease-fire.

The prosecutors provided a higher death toll from the fighting this week, saying 17 members of the security forces, 30 militants, and one civilian were killed in the clashes in and around Khorugh.

The fighting began when government forces launched an operation in the eastern Gorno-Badakhshan region against what it called "militants" following the assassination of a high-level security official there on July 21.

The government has blamed Tolib Ayombekov, a former warlord from the civil war, for the murder of regional security chief General Abdullo Nazarov.