TAJIK GOVERNMENT FORCES AT BAY.

Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 152

Tajik United Opposition deputy chairman Akbar Turanjozoda said at the weekend that a UTO detachment had retaken Tavildara on August 15. UN special envoy Dietrich Merrem in turn said yesterday that the Tajik government had informed him that the opposition had advanced in Tavildara district, "including the town itself;" but that UN military observers were unable to confirm the development because they were barred from the region by government troops. The government’s Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Internal Affairs Ministries all issued statements denouncing the opposition’s offensive and claiming that government troops controlled "strategic heights" around Tavildara, without saying who controlled the town itself. The UTO offensive is being credited to field commander Mirzo Zieyev.

In the northwestern city of Tursunzade, a government commission is negotiating with two local armed groups for a surrender of their weapons.

In Yavan district, 40 kilometers southeast of Dushanbe, the resistance unit of commander Rahmon captured the district security chief (identified as a Russian officer), police chief, three other law enforcement officers, and nine Russian soldiers. In the country’s capital Dushanbe, a bomb blast killed at least one Russian soldier and wounded eight others. The government ordered the formation of joint patrols of Tajik police and Russian soldiers from the 201st Motorized Infantry Division to "ensure order" in the capital. (Reuter, Interfax, Itar-Tass, August 16 through 18)

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