Friday, July 27, 2012 -
The uneasy ceasefire between Tajik government troops and militants in the restive Gorno-Badakhshan province in southeastern Tajikistan will continue until Saturday.
The Tajik government expects militants to surrender their arms by noon on Saturday, after three days of negotiations. Fighting broke out between government forces and militants after the country’s top regional security officer was killed by a Tajik warlord over the weekend.
Twenty fighters and thirty rebels were killed, according to government sources.
Tajikistan has closed off the border shared by the region with Afghanistan, due to the discovery of several Afghan nationals who were involved in the standoff. NATO trucks will be allowed to pass through, however.
“All the checkpoints at the Tajik-Afghan border have been closed due to a special operation taking place in [Tajikistan’s] Badakhshan,” the Reuters news agency reported the spokesman for Tajikistan’s border guards service as saying.
“But an exception has been made for trucks with NATO cargo – they continue crossing the border.”
Russia and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) recently called on the Tajik government for restraint in resolving the conflict.
The EU echoed these words in a statement released Friday.
“We hope that the current clashes will end as quickly as possible and that further casualties will be avoided,” the EU said in a statement.
“We call on the Tajik authorities to restore means of communication, to ensure the safety and allow for the provision of humanitarian assistance to the civilian population, and to establish a corridor for civilians wishing to leave the area of violence.”