Border guards in Tajikistan have said two drug traffickers were killed in an exchange of gunfire after they attempted to cross over from Afghanistan.
The border service of the State Committee for National Security said that the incursion occurred at 11:30 p.m. on July 3 at the Hamadoni crossing, which lies south of the city of Kulob.
Border guard spokesman Muhammad Ulughodzhayev told Asia-Plus news website that the traffickers retreated after meeting fire from government troops and that the bodies of two men, aged between 30 and 35, were found at the scene after the incident. Ulughodzhayev said they also found five kilograms of an unspecified narcotic substance and a hunting knife.
Another clash occurred at the Panj bordering crossing, around 50 kilometers further west, north of the Afghan city of Kunduz, which has been repeatedly besieged by Taliban militants in recent months. Ulughodzhayev said that after a battle at Panj, border guards found 16 kilograms of hashish and a Kalashnikov automatic rifle.
Similar incursions have become a semi-regular occurrence and have been linked by at least some security officials to the mounting instability in Afghanistan.
When the border service reported on another thwarted crossing by suspected traffickers on June 10, Sputnik-Tajikistan cited security services as saying that Tajik authorities had registered 32 illegal incursions since the start of this year alone.
“One of the main threats to the Tajik-Afghan border is in the growing volume of contraband narcotics as the sale of these narcotics serves as a primary source of income for terrorist groups in Afghanistan,” General-Lieutenant Radzhabali Rahmonali, the commander of Tajikistan’s border service, told RIA-Novosti news agency in May.