Tajik army, internal affairs, state security, and presidential guard troops launched an offensive into central Tajikistan over the weekend, recapturing the district center Komsomolabad and advancing eastward toward opposition-held Garm. However, the opposition retook Tavildara and pressured two passes that lead into southwestern Tajikistan’s Hotlon region, home to the Russian-backed ruling Kulob clan. Russian "peacekeeping" troops moved into position to defend one of the passes under the pretext of protecting a Russian air defense installation.
The Tajik foreign ministry expressed regret to the UN mission after government troops forcibly turned back and manhandled a group of UN military observers en route to the combat zone. However, the ministry demanded that it be prenotified of the observers’ movements. Government troops have repeatedly and openly prevented the military observer mission (UNMOT) from fulfilling its mandate. Often passive in such situations, UNMOT was instructed in this case from UN headquarters in New York to recall all of its members from all field locations to Dushanbe for security reasons. (Interfax, Itar-Tass, Voice of Free Tajikistan, December 6 through 8)
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