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Tajik Border Guard Wounded Along Afghan Frontier

A Tajik border guard was wounded in an exchange of fire with an armed group trying to cross from Afghanistan on January 18.

The border guard, 22-year-old Faridun Olimov, was taken to the hospital in Kulob, where doctors operated on him.

Chief doctor at the Kulob hospital, Nizom Latifov, said Olimov was shot in the stomach, but Latifov added the operation was successful and the border guard was expected to recover.

Local health officials said a second border guard was also lightly wounded and was being treated at a local medical facility.

Tajik officials said it appears the intruders were armed narcotics smugglers, but Tajik security officials have warned recently that a large concentration of militants has been detected in northern Afghanistan just across the border from Tajikistan.

Tajik security officials noted that many of these militants originated from Central Asia, with some being members of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and others from the group Jamaat Ansarullo, as well as fighters from the Taliban.

Four Tajik border guards were taken hostage by an unidentified group in Afghanistan on December 19.

That group has reportedly offered to exchange the border guards for militants being held in Tajik prisons.

With additional reporting by T