Deputy commander of Tajik OMON riot police, Lieutenant Colonel Farrukh Zaripov, was killed during a special operation of government troops in Tajikistan’s Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Province, sources from the Tajik Interior Ministry told Tass on Sunday.
They said “the circumstances of the death of the officer are investigated”. According to sources from the regional department of the Committee for Emergency Situations, the dead body of the policeman was washed ashore on the Afghan side of the Pyandzh River, where local farmers found it. It was not said whether the officer had been wounded or drowned.
Zapirov has become 13th on the official list of casualties among the government troops. Independent sources give bigger figures, noting that 18 local residents are on the list. As for the militants, official data puts their number at 30. Over 40 people have been detained, official reports say.
The large-scale special operation of the Tajikistani government forces was launched in Gorno-Badakhshan at dawn on July 24. The operation was initiated because of the murder of the chief of the regional Badakhshan department of the State Committee for National Security, General Abdullo Nazarov, and the former field commanders’ refusal to give away the killers.
The authorities accused former field commander Tolib Ayembekov of the murder of General Abdullo Nazarov, but he refused to give away the suspects in the murder, and also began arming his supporters, threatening to turn for help to the Afghans.
Information about 400 to 1,000 Afghan gunmen amassing on the Afghan border of Pyandzh has been confirmed by analysts from the Strategic Studies Centre under the Tajik president.
At the present time there is a fragile peace in the region. Militants surrender arms expecting an amnesty promised by the president for that. The future of field commanders is unclear.