July 26, 2012 20:37
Afghanistan promises tighter border control to help Tajikistan fight militants
DUSHANBE. July 26 (Interfax) - Top Afghan security officials have promised tighter control over Afghanistan's border with Tajikistan to stop Tajik rebels receiving support from across the frontier, the Tajik president's office said on Thursday.
Afghanistan's Interior Minister Bismillah Khan Mohammadi and the director general of the National Directorate of Security, Rahmatullah Nabil, "said confidently" during a meeting with Tajik President Emomali Rahmon on Thursday "that they would take urgent and effective measures to tighten control of the mutual border and prevent the illegal crossing of the border by armed groups and smugglers," the office said in a statement.
The site of Tajikistan's current rebel activity is the Gorno-Badakhshan autonomous region, the Tajik part of the historic province of Badakhshan divided between Tajikistan and Afghanistan.
Gorno-Badakhshan has been the scene of a security operation since Tuesday, the day 12 soldiers and 30 rebels were killed and 40 militants were taken prisoner. Eight of them were Afghan nationals, and the Tajik government suspects a Taliban connection.
"It was pointed out [at Thursday's meeting] that a group of Afghan armed individuals were detained on Afghan territory who had collaborated with local criminal groups in Khorog [capital of Gorno-Badakhshan]," the statement said.
A ceasefire has been in effect for two days in Khorog, which lies 520 kilometers from the Tajik capital Dushanbe. The government promises an amnesty to the rebels if they surrender.
Rahmon and the Tajik officials discussed "military cooperation between the two neighboring countries and their security, including the joint defense of the Tajik-Afghan border, and the prevention of the expansion of terrorism, extremism, and the smuggling of weapons and drugs," the statement said.
The Tajik-Afghan border is 1,344 kilometers long.
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