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August 23, 2017

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Tajikistan closes Afghan border for army operation

DUSHANBE -- Tajikistan has closed all border-crossing points with Afghanistan due to a military operation to capture a former warlord, but NATO trucks carrying supplies to their forces are allowed to pass, a Tajik border official said on Friday.

Tajik President Imomali Rakhmon launched an offensive in the autonomous Gorno-Badakhshan region on Tuesday against supporters of Tolib Ayombekov, who is accused of killing a security service general.

Authorities sealed the border after government troops captured eight Afghan militants who were fighting for Ayombekov. Tajik officials feared Taliban-linked fighters were crossing into the ex-Soviet republic to help the former warlord.

The border between Gorno-Badakhshan and Afghanistan's Badakhshan province — in the remote, mountainous area along the Pyandzh river — was sealed on Tuesday, Khushnud Rakhmatullayev, spokesman for Tajikistan's border guards, told Reuters.

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