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Tajik troops partially withdraw from Khorog
Food aid sent to city
By Dilafruz Nabiyeva and Staff
KHOROG, Tajikistan – Tajik troops August 1 began a partial withdrawal from Khorog, scene of fierce fighting July 24.
Only a battalion of 500 troops remains, compared to the original force of 3,000, according to a State National Security Committee (GKNB) statement. The battalion will stay until the militant disarmament is complete, the GKNB said, adding life in Khorog has returned to normal.
The troops entered the city July 24 in pursuit of GKNB Gen. Abdullo Nazarov’s suspected killers. The four main suspects remain at large. Seventeen troops, 30 militants and one civilian were killed, Tajik official sources told CA-News.org.
A convoy of 80 trucks carrying food departed Dushanbe for Khorog August 2, CA-News.org reported. The food will be delivered to about 8,000 needy families in the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast as well as thousands of World War II veterans, retired and disabled residents, and orphans and homeless children, the government said. Supplies include more than 1,000 tonnes of flour, sugar, oil, rice and pasta, according to Tajik President Emomali Rakhmon’s press office.
“Although the town is fully operating right now, we really lack some basics; therefore, it’s good that humanitarian aid is being sent. The stores and public transportation are restored; we are back to work,” local market worker Shakhriyar Zholmoyev said.
Defence Minister Sherali Khairulloyev, at an August 2 meeting with Khorog citizens, apologised for any civilian casualties. Official sources acknowledge only one civilian death. Khairulloyev also thanked the Aga Khan for facilitating the militants’ surrender of arms, saying that the spiritual leader assured militants that Rakhmon would guarantee their safety if they laid down their weapons.
Meanwhile, opposition Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan (PIVT) Chairman Mukhiddin Kabiri August 2 wrote to General Prosecutor Sherkhon Salimzoda to request an investigation of the death of PIVT activist Sabazali Mamadrizoyev, CA-News.org reported. Mamadrizoyev spoke at a Khorog rally July 23, one day before troops arrived. His beaten, bullet-riddled body was found two days later, the PIVT said.
Tajikistan is considering expelling its Afghan refugees, Afghanistan.ru reported August 2, quoting a source close to the Afghan embassy in Dushanbe. The possible expulsion is linked to the involvement of some Afghan militants in the Khorog fighting, the source told Afghanistan.ru. Eight Afghan militants were killed and four were detained in Khorog, according to Afghanistan.ru. Tajikistan has had several thousand Afghan refugees since the 1990s, Fergana News reported.
In related news, Khatlon Oblast officials August 1 renamed a village and school in Nazarov’s home district of Dzhilikul District for the slain GKNB general, District Governor Makhmadrakhim Ismoilov said.