Saturday, 28 July 2012

Tajikistan Seals Afghan Border

Tajikistan has closed all crossing points on the border with Afghanistan amid a controversial armed conflict in the east of the republic, the Asia Plus news agency reported on Saturday.
Khushnud Rakhmatullayev, head of the State National Security Committee Border Guard press service, said the decision was made due to the ongoing “special operation” in Tajikistan’s Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region.
Tajik security officials have said 30 militants, including eight Afghan citizens, were killed and 40 were detained during the operation against a mafia-style group believed to be behind the murder of Abdullo Nazarov, chief of the Tajikistan National Security Committee, who was killed on July 21.
Dushanbe denies any casualties among civilians, but the opposition media reported about over 200 dead, including security officers and civilians.
Tajik opposition activists claim that the conflict was actually an attempt by President Emomali Rakhmon to suppress opposition in the region. They have accused Tajik authorities of using Nazarov’s murder, and the recent attacks on government officials, as a pretext for an ethnic cleansing campaign, and an attempt to re-establish control over the region which has long been known as a fiefdom of local warlords.

The Gorno-Badakhshan region remains volatile 15 years after a civil war between the Moscow-backed government and an Islamist-led opposition, in which up to 50,000 people were killed. The five-year war ended in 1997 with a United Nations-brokered peace agreement.
The Tajik activists have sent a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin asking him to help resolve the conflict.
Asian Defence News

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