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Tajikistan: Uncertainty Six Months After Conscripts Kidnapped by Afghan Insurgents

Two boys go swimming in the Panj River upstream from where the four border guards were kidnapped, allegedly by Afghan militants, in December. The Tajik government claims the four conscripts were fetching firewood across the river in Afghanistan when they were abducted. (Photo: David Trilling)

After six months of captivity in Afghanistan, nobody knows when or if four Tajikistani border guards are coming home.
 
The four conscripts were kidnapped, allegedly by Afghan militants, on December 19 along the wide and twisting Panj River, which marks the border between Tajikistan and Afghanistan. Their commander had sent them to search for firewood – reportedly on the Afghan side of the river. All four served in Unit 2610 of the Panj Border Service detachment, about four hours’ drive south from Dushanbe, Tajikistan’s capital, an area rife with drug smuggling. When they were captured, the young men were all between 19 and 24 years old.
 
Officials say the captured conscripts are fine, that they are being held by the Taliban (rather than one of the many other insurgent groups operating in the region) and that negotiations are ongoing. But the families of Farhod Kalonov, Tuichiboy Nurboev, Mehroj Shodiev and Sirojiddin Davlatov are nevertheless despairing. And critics say the government is not doing enough to secure their release.
 

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Tajikistan: Uncertainty Six Months After Conscripts Kidnapped by Afghan Insurgents

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