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January 12, 2017 11:14

Dushanbe objects to Afghan ambassador in Moscow's remarks on Tajik people

DUSHANBE. Jan 12 (Interfax) - Afghan Ambassador in Dushanbe Zalmai Yunusi was summoned to the Tajik Foreign Ministry, which expressed extreme concern about the insulting remarks of Afghan Ambassador in Moscow Abdul Qayum Kochi regarding the people of Tajikistan, the ministry's information department said on Thursday.

Kochi, a close relative of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, said that mafia groups involved in drug trafficking had been operating in Tajikistan.

In addition, Kochi accused Russia of drug trafficking in an interview with video blogger Shafie Ayar posted on YouTube. "I met with a senior Russian official and told him that drug crops were grown in Afghanistan but that you [Russians] and the Tajik mafia were behind that," he said.

"Tajikistan is a small country with a population of less than five million, including one million Russians. That country has Russian culture, and its official language is Russian. Tajiks are not allowed to use their native tongue for writing, and even their written language has been changed. A powerful mafia is active in Tajikistan," the ambassador said.

"The Tajik Foreign Ministry has studied the interview with Afghan Ambassador to Russia Abdul Qayum Kochi, who, in particular, expressed his opinion on the situation in Central Asia and made negative comments about the Republic of Tajikistan. The Tajik side insistently recommended that Afghanistan take efficient measures towards a comprehensive analysis of this negative comment by an official of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and demanded relevant explanations," the Tajik Foreign Ministry said.

The ministry regretted Kabul's statement that the remarks by the Afghan ambassador were his personal business and did not reflect the national stance.

The ministry also commented on a statement by Omar Safi, former governor of the Afghan province of Kunduz, that tanks and other hardware of the radical Taliban movement were being repaired in the territory of Tajikistan.

"The thoughtless and unfounded statement by a former official of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan is disappointing. It seems that the former governor has no idea about heavy weapons, such as tanks, and the way they can be brought to Tajikistan freely and unseen. Yet Omar Safi is perfectly aware that this is impossible. Therefore, we see the populist remarks by Mr. Safi as provocative and aimed at creating a negative image of the Republic of Tajikistan in Afghan society," it said.

"Instead of making a profound analysis of the difficulties encountered by Afghanistan and experienced by Afghan society and factors impacting the situation in that country and instead of searching for ways of their solution, Kabul officials have chosen to take a different path," the ministry said.

"Such statements by Afghan representatives, which demonstrate shortsightedness, incompetence and a lack of elementary knowledge, cause deep regret, hinder the creation of a constructive atmosphere and the fulfillment of earlier agreements and, by doing so, do damage to bilateral relations based on the principles of friendship and neighborliness," the Tajik Foreign Ministry said.

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