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Tajik Villager Says Driven Out For Drug-Smuggling Ties

KULOB, Tajikistan -- A Tajik villager living on the border with Afghanistan says his neighbors gave his family 10 days to leave because of its involvement in drug smuggling, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.

Ghoib Qurbonov, 72, from the village of Qavoq in the Shuroobod district, said he and his family have been wandering for several days in Danghara and Kulob because of the warning.

He said local officials in the area have consistently rejected his requests for a plot of land to build a new house.

Qurbonov admitted that his four sons had been engaged in illegal drug deals with Afghan smugglers, but he said all were eventually arrested and one has died in prison.

Qurbonov also said some Afghan drug dealers have visited his home and he fed them. He said he did so only because he feared them.

Saidjafar Asrorov, the head of Shuroobod's Sari Chashma community, countered by saying nobody had expelled Qurbonov and his family. Asrorov said people discussed and then condemned the Qurbonov family's involvement in drug dealing, but they are still registered as living in the village and can return without any problem.

Askarshoh Navruzov, a security official in Qavoq, likewise rejected Qurbonov's statement. Navruzov said no state body issued an order to expel Qurbonov.

But Qavoq residents told RFE/RL they had asked Qurbonov to leave the village because of the drug links and because he sometimes causes trouble for them by "misinforming" local authorities.

Qurbonov said he recently mediated to help secure the release of a local resident, Mirzo Boboev, who was snatched by Afghan drug smugglers and taken to Afghanistan. Qavoq is situated just 5 kilometers from the Tajik-Afghan border.

Read more in Tajik here