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Tajikistan: Will Ceasefire End Deadly Conflict in Gorno-Badakhshan?

A Tajik soldier watches the Afghan border from a post in Khorog. The town in Tajikistan's Gorno-Badakhshan province, scene of fierce fighting between government forces and local warlords in recent days, is a major trafficking hub for Afghan narcotics. (Photo: David Trilling)

Reports of civilian casualties trickled out of Tajikistan’s mountainous east on July 25 as security officials announced a ceasefire and demanded militants hand over the local warlord targeted in the offensive, launched a day earlier. The fighting in Gorno-Badakhshan province (GBAO) is being described as the worst in Tajikistan since the 1990s civil war and raises concerns of a protracted new conflict. 

According to the Interior Ministry and National Security Committee, 42 died during the operation on July 24, including 12 government soldiers and 30 militants. Though the government denies any civilian deaths, reports of such fatalities have been widespread. Radio Free Europe’s Tajik service says unidentified snipers killed at least six civilians, including children, early on July 25. The independent Asia-Plus news agency, which has been blocked throughout Tajikistan, reports approximately 20 civilians died. Unconfirmed reports put the civilian death toll as high as 100.

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Tajikistan: Will Ceasefire End Deadly Conflict in Gorno-Badakhshan?

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