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DUSHANBE -- Officials say the refusal of five Tajik citizens jailed in Afghanistan to return home is stalling the return to Afghanistan of nearly 100 Afghans jailed in Tajikistan.

An official in Tajikistan's Interior Ministry told RFE/RL on June 1 that 97 Afghan nationals -- serving prison terms in Tajikistan for illegal drug trafficking and violating immigration laws -- have been unable to serve their terms in Afghanistan, in line with a prisoner exchange agreement, because of the dispute.

It was not immediately clear why the five Tajiks, who are serving jail terms for similar crimes in Afghanistan, are refusing to go back to Tajikistan to continue serving their sentences.

Afghanistan's Ambassador to Tajikistan, Abdulgafuri Orzu, told RFE/RL that according to Tajik-Afghan agreements, the forcible repatriation of prisoners is not acceptable.
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