Tajikistan clashes after death of top official Nazarov

DUSHANBE. July 24. KAZINFORM Fighting has been reported in Tajikistan's remote eastern region of Gorno-Badakhshan following the death of a security forces official.

At least eight soldiers have been killed in the military operation against local opposition strongman Tolib Ayombekov, reports say.

Official Abdullo Nazarov was stabbed to death on Saturday.

Residents of the provincial capital Khorog told the BBC their town now resembles a warzone.

Communications in Gorno-Badakhshan province have now been cut.

People are trapped in their homes because of the heavy fighting in the streets, where armoured vehicles have been seen. Dozens of people have been reported wounded, Kazinform cites BBC News.

Security forces say they decided to use force after Mr Ayombekov refused to surrender.

Mr Ayombekov was a member of the opposition which fought against the government during Tajikistan's civil war in the 1990s.

The operation is yet another attempt by the Tajik government, which has little influence in the area, to bring Gorno-Badakhshan under its full control, says the BBC's Abdujalil Abdurasulov.

However, it remains a base for former rebel fighters, our correspondent adds.

A former Soviet republic, Tajikistan plunged into civil war almost as soon as it became independent from the Soviet Union in 1991. It is Central Asia's poorest nation.


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