Dushanbe, July 24 (Interfax) – Twelve army and security officers were killed, yet another 23 were injured during a special operation in eastern Tajikistan to catch suspected killers of a security general, the country’s State National Security Committee said in an official statement.
Security forces eliminated 30 militants and held another 40.
“The preliminary results of the special operation in Khorugh are as follows: losses among Tajik army, law enforcement and security forces amount to 12 dead and 23 injured,” the statement said.
“During the operation, 30 militants from illegal armed groups were eliminated and yet another 40, including eight Afghans, were held,” the statement said.
The special operation in Khorugh, the administrative center of the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Province, began at 4 a.m. local time (3 a.m. Moscow time). The aim of the operation is to catch or neutralize a former Tajik opposition field commander, Tolib Aiyembekov, who is accused by the authorities of being involved in the murder of the security chief for the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Province Maj. Gen. Abdullo Nazarov on July 21.
While the statement is not saying whether Aiyembekov was caught and whether the operation is over, sources told Interfax that the operation will resume the following day. “Not all Aiyembekov’s militants have been caught yet. Part of them escaped and we continue the pursuit. Most likely, everything will be over tomorrow,” the source said.
Earlier sources told Interfax about 30 fatalities on both sides.
The Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Province is a scarcely populated eastern part of Tajikistan covered by the Pamir mountains. The administrative center of the region – the city of Khorough – is located 520 kilometers southeast of Dushanbe.
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