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Suspected Afghan Drug Traffickers Kill Tajik Soldier

A Tajik soldier has been killed in a gun battle with suspected drug smugglers attempting to cross the border from neighboring Afghanistan.

The Tajik State Committee for National Security announced on January 8 that about 20 intruders had opened fire after being intercepted during a nighttime patrol last week.

Another soldier was wounded before the suspects escaped.

According to committee officials, the incident took place on January 1 but the information was only made public this week for security reasons.

Tajik officials say at least 20 illegal border crossings by alleged drug traffickers were prevented in 2012.

Last year, about three tons of different types of drugs were confiscated from Afghan smugglers.

Tajikistan is a major conduit for the trafficking of heroin and other drugs from Afghanistan to Russia and Europe.

Based on reporting by AP and ITAR-TASS