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Tajik Opposition Security Official Assassinated In Knife Attack

Tajik security official Abdullo Nazarov
DUSHANBE -- RFE/RL’s Tajik service reports that a prominent Tajik opposition figure and security official has been assassinated.

RFE/RL has learned that General Abdullo Nazarov -- who was chairman of the Directorate of Tajikistan’s State Committee for National Security in Badakhshan Province -- died from knife wounds after being stabbed on the afternoon of July 21.

He was attacked while in the Ishkoshim district of Gorno Badakhshan Autonomous Province.

The Ishkoshim district, about 100 kilometers south of the province's administrative center of Khorugh, is close to the border with Afghanistan.

Sources told RFE/RL that Nazarov was accompanied by two officers from "Alpha Group," a special unit of Tajikistan's State Committee for National Security, when he was killed.

The whereabouts of those officers was not immediately clear early on July 21.

Nazarov had been a KGB agent during Soviet era. But in 1991, he publicly accused the KGB of killing protesters in Tajikistan’s capital of Dushanbe during several days of demonstrations there in February 1990.

He was fired from the KGB after making those accusations.

In 1992, Nazarov joined the United Tajik Opposition -- a coalition of Islamic, democratic, and nationalist political parties and movements that was opposed to Tajikistan's Soviet-era communist rulers.

From 1992 to 1997, as civil was raged in Tajikistan, Nazarov remained outside of the country. He never confirmed his whereabouts during those years.

After the signing in Moscow of a General Peace Agreement between the Tajik government and the United Tajik Opposition,

Nazarov returned to Tajikistan's security service under a deal in the accord which allowed 30 percent of government posts to be named by Tajikistan's opposition.

Kyrgyz Accusations

He served as the Chairman of the Directorate of Tajikistan’s State Committee for National Security in the northern province of Sughd and as a deputy of the chairman of Tajikistan’s State Committee for National Security.

In 2010, Nazarov was appointed as Chairman of the Directorate of Tajikistan’s State Committee for National Security in Badakhshan Province.

Within months of that appointment, during the summer of 2010, authorities in Kyrgyzstan accused Nazarov of offering a safe haven to the relatives of former Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiev in Tajikistan's Gorno Badakhshan province.

Nazarov categorically denied those accusations.

Recently, Nazarov was linked by a Tajik Court to an August 2010 mass jail break from the detention center of Tajikistan’s State Committee for National Security.

The court called for an investigation into whether Nazarov had played a role in the prison escape.

Hearings were not open to the public and no further details about those court proceedings were immediately available.

Twenty-five prisoners -- including alleged Islamist militants -- reportedly killed several guards at the prison during the escape.

All the escapees have been since been rearrested or killed by Tajik security officials.