DUSHANBE (TCA) — After an initial denial, Tajikistan’s State Committee for National Security says that the authorities have arrested 12 people suspected of plotting an attack on the Russian military base in Dushanbe earlier in November, RFE/RL’s Tajik Service reports.
Committee spokesman Dilshod Abdualimov said on November 13 that a report issued by RFE/RL the day before was accurate.
In the report, RFE/RL quoted sources close to security authorities as saying that 12 alleged members of the extremist group Islamic State (IS) were apprehended near the Russian base in the Tajik capital on November 4.
The sources said the group was led by a man identified as Suhrob from the town of Vahdat, near Dushanbe, who authorities allege has fought alongside IS militants in the Middle East.
In an initial comment on November 13, Abdualimov said the RFE/RL report was untrue. But he later confirmed the report, saying that he did not have “concrete information” when he denied it.
Some 7,000 Russian troops are stationed at three separate locations in Tajikistan — Dushanbe, Kulob, and Qurghon-Teppa.
The government of President Emomali Rahmon says at least 1,000 Tajiks have traveled to Syria or Iraq to fight alongside IS.
Rahmon’s government seeks to maintain firm control on religion in the predominantly Muslim former Soviet republic that borders Afghanistan, allowing only approved forms of Islam.