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Tajikistan: nine dead and 24 injured in an “anti-terrorist” operation

2022-05-18T18:39:28.779Z

Nine people were killed on Wednesday (May 18) and 24 injured in an “anti-terrorist” operation in eastern Tajikistan, according to the Ministry of...



Nine people were killed on Wednesday May 18 and 24 injured in an " anti-

terrorist

" operation in eastern Tajikistan, according to the Interior Ministry of this Central Asian country which is regularly the scene of armed clashes.

Read alsoIn Tajikistan, Afghan exiles escaped the Taliban in extremis

Among the victims, a soldier died and 13 others were injured after a molotov cocktail was thrown at a convoy of the National Security Committee of Tajikistan, detailed the ministry in a press release.

Eight members of an “

illegal armed group

” were killed and 11 others injured.

More than 70 members of this

unidentified "

terrorist group " have been arrested, the ministry said.

Operation against “criminal groups”

According to the statement, the clashes took place after some 200 people belonging to "

organized criminal groups

" and armed blocked the road connecting the Tajik capital, Dushanbe, to Khorog, capital of the autonomous region of Gorno-Badashkhan ( BGAO), not far from the border with Afghanistan.

This vast mountainous area of ​​the Pamir massif represents nearly half the area of ​​Tajikistan, but only some 200,000 of the country's nine million inhabitants.

The region borders Afghan, Chinese and Kyrgyz territories.

In the morning, Tajikistan announced the launch of an "

anti-terrorist operation

" in this gigantic region against the backdrop of growing tensions in recent months with local figures.

"

To ensure the safety of citizens and social order, the security organs have launched an anti-terrorist operation

", indicates the ministry, which accuses local "

criminal groups

" of being financed by "

foreign extremist and terrorist organizations

".

European Union Delegation

Without saying who was the target of this operation, his announcement came as the Interior Ministry also announced clashes on Tuesday with the supporters of an influential figure in Gorno-Badakhshan, Mamadbokir Mamadbokirov, whom the Tajik authorities describe as “

leader of a criminal group

”.

According to the ministry, youths allegedly attacked police officers on Tuesday evening in Khorog, throwing a grenade at them and injuring several officers.

An assailant was killed.

In a joint statement, the European Union delegation to Tajikistan and the embassies of France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States expressed their "

deep concern about the internal tensions and the violent clashes

" that have occurred in the autonomous region.

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“Defuse” tensions

They called on “

all parties to spare no effort to defuse, exercise restraint and refrain from excessive use of force and incitement to violence

”.

Tensions have been escalating for months, and Tajik authorities shut down internet throughout the area several months ago.

The reported intimidation and prosecution of citizens and journalists, as well as the apparent broad limitation of access to information, undermine the prospects for a rapid de-escalation and a return to normal order.

“, estimated the Western representations in their press release.

This Central Asian country is the poorest of the former Soviet republics, and survives largely thanks to its migrant workers in Russia.

Civil war

It was torn apart by a civil war with Islamists and opponents of the regime in place, in particular groups from Gorno-Badakhshan, in the 1990s. The country has been ruled since 1992 by Emomali Rakhmon, whose authoritarian drift is denounced by many many NGOs and Western capitals.

Clashes between Tajik forces and various armed groups, Islamists or drug traffickers from Afghanistan, were still very common in the 2000s, then became less numerous in the 2010s. However, violence regularly takes place.

In November 2019, the Tajik government claimed to have killed 15 members of the Islamic State group from Afghanistan.

The return of the Taliban to power in Kabul last summer has also raised concerns about future destabilization of Tajikistan.

Read alsoTajikistan weakened by its workers returning from Russia

Finally, Dushanbe maintains conflicting relations with its Kyrgyz neighbor due to economic and territorial disputes.

Deadly clashes erupt there regularly.

The latest date back to April, but the most serious took place in the spring of 2021 and left around fifty dead.

Source: lefigaro

All news articles on 2022-05-18

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