United Tajik Opposition (UTO) Chairman Saidabdullo Nuri yesterday circulated an appeal to the countries involved in the inter-Tajik talks and to international organizations to urgently render "any humanitarian assistance they can afford" to the population of the Tavildara district in central Tajikistan. The appeal said Tajik government forces had confiscated the local population’s food reserves and cattle during their recent retreat from the area and are now blockading the district and strafing its villages in air raids. The population is "starving to death" and also lacks access to medical services. Meanwhile, no relief supplies are being allowed in, the appeal said. (Interfax, May 21) Resistance forces took control of the area two weeks ago, and government forces seem to be trying to starve the area into submission.
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