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Khorog talks continue; suspects detained
Rakhmon demands control of Khorog situation
By Dilafruz Nabiyeva
DUSHANBE – About 40 suspects captured by Tajik troops have been transferred from Khorog to Dushanbe, the State National Security Committee (GKNB) said in a statement. Meanwhile, negotiations between the government and militants continue.
The approximately 40 suspected militants, including eight Afghans, were captured in fighting that broke out July 24 when government forces entered Khorog in search of the suspected killers of State National Security Committee Gen. Abdullo Nazarov.
Tolib Ayombekov, the civil war insurgent-turned-border guard regional deputy commander who is suspected of masterminding Nazarov’s slaying, was not among those in custody and his whereabouts remain unknown, according to the statement.
Meanwhile, Dushanbe medical facilities July 26 admitted 23 wounded troops, according to Dushanbe Central Hospital. The number of wounded militants was not reported.
The death toll remained unchanged Thursday, with at least 62 people killed, including 30 militants, 12 security personnel and 20 others, according to a GKNB statement.
A government-appointed commission continues to look for dead and wounded in Khorog, the GKNB said.
A group of Tajikistani citizens has sent letters to the OSCE and UN asking for help in resolving the Khorog situation, the BBC’s Russian service reported. OSCE, European Union and Russian officials have condemned the situation and called for peace.
The situation in Khorog has stabilised, the GKNB said in a statement.
Khosrov Usmonov, a Khorog resident, said he went outdoors July 26 for the first time this week. “We’d run out of food at home, so I was glad to find out that the store was open,” he said. “You could see some cars on the streets, traffic, and pedestrians, but soldiers are still here.”
Meanwhile, Tajik President Emomali Rakhmon July 25 convened a late-night cabinet session to discuss the Khorog situation, his press office said. He heard reports about Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast (GBAO) from Academy of Sciences President Mamadsho Khilolov and Labour and Social Protection Minister Makhmadin Makhmadinov.
Rakhmon urged Khorog and GBAO residents to help catch the criminals. He asked authorities to keep the situation in Khorog under control, according to the press office.
“We’re confident that the glorious residents of Khorog and the oblast will condemn similar criminal acts and will actively co-operate with law enforcement in protecting public order and calm and in guaranteeing the rule of law,” he said in a broadcast on state TV. “The people of Tajikistan should be confident that the criminals will be caught and brought to justice.”
Authorities called for the surrender of all suspects and for the dismantlement of barricades in Khorog, News.tj reported. Local residents promised to hand over all suspects after troops leave Khorog.
Rakhmon has cancelled his planned trip to the opening of the London Olympics, according to the president’s press service.
On July 26, Rakhmon discussed the situation with visiting Afghan Interior Minister Bismilloh Muhammadi and Afghan Directorate of National Security chief Rahmatullo Nabil, Rakhmon’s press office announced.
Afghan officials said they are doing everything to strengthen the border, especially in the mountainous areas. Afghanistan already has captured a few people affiliated with the Khorog suspects, Rakhmon’s press office said, though it didn’t provide the number. Authorities extended the July 25 cease-fire several times, most recently to noon July 27.
Communications are still out in Khorog, except for satellite phones. The Tajik Communications Agency attributed the disruption to a bullet that severed a fibre-optic cable, said Beg Sukhurov, the agency chief.