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Former Tajik Opposition Fighters 'Accept' Ministry Jobs

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English Map Tajik
DUSHANBE -- Some former United Tajik Opposition (UTO) fighters say they have again been offered, and have accepted, employment in the Interior Ministry forces, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.

Olim Odilov, who fought during the 1992-97 civil war under field commander Mirzokhuja Ahmadov, told RFE/RL on May 26 that he and Ahmadov, plus a dozen more of Ahmadov's men, had already had interviews and medical check-ups and are waiting for the interior minister to formalize their employment.

The Interior Ministry declined to comment on that claim.

Ahmadov and his fighters are natives of the Rasht Valley. After the end of the civil war in 1997, Ahmadov served as the head of a department combating organized crime in Rasht Valley until he was forced into early retirement in 2008.

On September 19, 2010, more than two dozen government servicemen were killed in an ambush in Rasht's Kamarob Gorge that the government blamed on local and foreign fighters, including Ahmadov and his men.

Ahmadov and his followers laid down their weapons and even joined the government forces in a military operation against Abdullo Rahimov (aka Mullo Abdullo) and Aloviddin Davlatov (aka Ali Bedaki), who were similarly suspected of attacking government forces in Rasht.

Davlatov and Rahimov were killed earlier this year.

Another former UTO field commander from Rasht, Shoh Iskandarov, was appointed last month as deputy head of the Interior Ministry directorate in the Rasht Valley.

At that time, Tajik Interior Ministry spokesman Mahmadullo Asadulloev told RFE/RL that the appointment was in recognition of Iskandarov's role in defusing the crisis there last fall, when Islamic militants fought against government forces.