Tajik troops kill Islamist warlord: Reports

The warlord was accused of a September attack on a column of govt troops.

Almaty: Tajik security forces have killed an Islamist warlord and 10 of his fighters accused of a September attack on a column of government troops, Tajik private news agencies reported on Friday.

The al Qaeda-linked Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) had claimed responsibility for the September 19 attack on government troops in which 28 soldiers were killed.

The Central Asian state`s government launched a retaliatory attack in late September, targeting rebels who had pledged to carry out more strikes in response to what they called a government crackdown on Islam.

"Abdullo Rakhimov, better known as Mullah Abdullo, and 10 of his supporters, have been destroyed in eastern Tajikistan during a special operation of Tajik secret services," reported ASIA-Plus news agency, quoting Tajik police.

"Heavy armoured vehicles and aviation were used in the operation," the agency said on its website www.news.tj.

At least two Tajik security service officers died in the operation, it said.

Security forces said in January they had tracked down and killed another warlord involved in the September attack.

Tajikistan, a secular but mainly Muslim country of 7.5 million people, shares a porous 1,340-km (840-mile) border with Afghanistan.

Last year, Dushanbe jailed more than 100 members of banned groups in its battle against Islamist radicalism.

Tajikistan is the poorest of five former Soviet republics in Central Asia, and is used as a major drug trafficking route out of Afghanistan.

Tens of thousands of people were killed in Tajikistan during the 1992-97 civil war fought over political, religious and clan divisions.

Bureau Report

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