Tajik or Russian plane ‘bombs’ Afghanistan border area

KABUL (TCA) — A Tajik or Russian plane carried out an air strike on August 26 in Afghanistan’s northeastern Takhar Province after clashes erupted near Tajikistan’s border, Afghan officials said on August 27, RFE/RL’s Radio Free Afghanistan reports.

Khalil Asir, spokesman for Takhar provincial police, said the bombing in the Darqad district near the border area started after two Tajik border guards were killed in a clash with the Taliban.

Eight Taliban militants were killed and six others were wounded, Asir said.

Mohammad Jawid Hejri, the provincial governor’s spokesman, confirmed the incident, which broke out on August 26, but said the clash broke out between drug smugglers in Afghanistan and Tajik border guards.

Hejri said the identity of the drugs smugglers is not known and added that the warplane was either from Russia or Tajikistan.

He said the area targeted is outside of government’s control and is under Taliban control.

However, the Defense Ministry in Moscow told Russian news agency RIA that its military planes did not carry out any military operations near the Afghan-Tajik border.

Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, confirmed the clash and also said it broke out between drug smugglers and Tajik border guards. Mujahid said the aircraft bombed a forested area used by smugglers.

“We are looking into the incident, as Taliban fighters have no permission to clash with neighboring countries,” he said.

Officials at the Tajikistan and Russian embassies in Kabul were not immediately available for comment.

Cross-border clashes are rare on Afghanistan’s border with Tajikistan, compared with fighting along Afghanistan’s eastern border with Pakistan.

But security in Takhar has deteriorated over the past few months and regular clashes have broken out between Afghan security forces and militant groups, including the Taliban.

Sergey Kwan

TCA

Sergey Kwan has worked for The Times of Central Asia as a journalist, translator and editor since its foundation in March 1999. Prior to this, from 1996-1997, he worked as a translator at The Kyrgyzstan Chronicle, and from 1997-1999, as a translator at The Central Asian Post.
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Kwan studied at the Bishkek Polytechnic Institute from 1990-1994, before completing his training in print journalism in Denmark.

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