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Up to thousand unidentified gunmen on Tajik-Afghan border-sources

August 06, 2012, 15:40 UTC+3

The large-scalesp ecial operation of the Tajikistani government was initiated because of the murder of General Abdullo Nazarov

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DSHANBE, August 6 (Itar-Tass) — President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan and Tajikistani President Emomali Rakhmon have discussed in a telephone conversation issues of strengthening security of the Tajik-Afghan border, primarily in the Badakhshan section, sources in the office of the Tajikistani president told Itar-Tass on Monday.

Rakhmon expressed to Karzai concern over “the dangerous concentration of armed militants in the Afghan border area near the Tajikistani Badakhshan region.” According to analysts of the Centre for Strategic Studies under the President of Tajikistan, “various data suggest that from 400 to 1,000 unidentified armed men have gathered near the border.”

It has been the second over the past two weeks telephone conversation between the two leaders on the situation on the border, the total length of which exceeds 1,400 kilometres. The press centre of the Tajikistani head of state reported earlier that the “Afghan president ordered his military to redeploy to the Badakhshan area ·· additional units of the Afghan government troops.”

A ceasefire regime is maintained in Tajikistan’s Badakhshan region where government troops on July 24 conducted a large-scale special operation to detain persons involved in the murder of Tajikistani security service General Abdullo Nazarov. Under the reached agreements, the militants surrendered to the authorities some 500 pieces of firearms and a large number of grenades, mines and ammunition. Head of the press centre of the Tajikistani Interior Ministry Makhmadullo Asadulloyev told journalists on Monday that the “operation on the surrender of weapons will be continue until the last barrel.”

Analysts point out that during the special operation of the Tajikistani government forces in the Tajik Pamirs in late July, five armed Afghans had been killed and eight detained. Recently, the Afghan security forces have arrested in the country another three officers on charges of having links with illegal armed groups of Badakhshan. President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai at the request of his Tajikistani counterpart Emomali Rakhmon ordered to redeploy additional troops to strengthen the Afghan section on the border with Badakhshan.

According to earlier reports, the situation in the region has been normalising. All state institutions and shops are functioning, communication has been restored. Special force troops and armoured vehicles have been withdrawn from the surrounding mountains and the city of Khorog (centre of the autonomy).

Negotiations on the voluntary disarmament of militants in exchange for an amnesty promised by the authorities, as well as surrender of those involved in the murder of General Abdullo Nazarov were conducted in parallel.

The large-scale special operation of the Tajikistani government forces was launched in Gorno-Badakhshan at dawn on July 24. The operation was initiated because of the murder of the chief of the regional Badakhshan department of the State Committee for National Security, General Abdullo Nazarov, and the former field commanders’ refusal to give away the killers. Tajikistan’s Interior Ministry and National Security Committee stressed in a joint statement that the “force action began after three-day talks with the former opposition field commanders on the surrender of all those involved in the murder of the general yielded no result.”

General Abdullo Nazarov, 56, was killed in the evening of July 21, not far from the regional city of Khorog. According to the official version, a group of up to 20 unidentified young men blocked his car on its way. They dragged Nazarov out of the car and cruelly murdered him. Three colleagues of the general who were also in the car did not come to his aid, despite the fact that they had their service weapons with them.

According to official figures, 42 people were killed in the special operation. There have been civilian casualties, but their number has not been specified.

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