Nine killed in clash in eastern Tajikistan

The ministry said some 200 members of what it called organized criminal groups had blocked a road linking Tajikistan and China to "destabilize the social and political situation."

A general view shows the town of Khorog, Tajikistan (photo credit: REUTERS/SHAMIL ZHUMATOV)
A general view shows the town of Khorog, Tajikistan
(photo credit: REUTERS/SHAMIL ZHUMATOV)

Security forces killed eight anti-government militants who had ambushed a convoy during an operation in eastern Tajikistan, the Tajik interior ministry said on Wednesday.

One officer was also killed in the clash in Gorno-Badakhshan province, which borders Afghanistan and China.

The ministry said some 200 members of what it called organized criminal groups had blocked a road linking Tajikistan and China to "destabilize the social and political situation."

The same groups attacked a security convoy with firearms and petrol bombs, the ministry said, killing the officer and wounding 13 other troops. Security forces killed eight attackers and detained more than 70 people.

The ministry said order has been restored in the province where protesters have demanded the resignation of the provincial government appointed by President Emomali Rakhmon.

A security member walks as flames and smoke rising from oil wells are seen in the distance at the Bai Hassan oilfield, which was attacked by militants, close to the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk, Iraq, May 5, 2021. (credit: REUTERS/AKO RASHEED)A security member walks as flames and smoke rising from oil wells are seen in the distance at the Bai Hassan oilfield, which was attacked by militants, close to the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk, Iraq, May 5, 2021. (credit: REUTERS/AKO RASHEED)

Rakhmon has been in power since 1994, gradually consolidating power and sidelining political rivals and opposition groups.

The operation followed clashes last year between protesters and security forces in the provincial capital Khorog in which at least one protester was killed by police.

Dozens of people were killed in fighting between a domestic armed group and government forces in Gorno-Badakhshan in 2012 and in the 1990s, when the province, whose population is ethnically different from the rest of Tajikistan tried to gain independence from Dushanbe.