Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 144

Tajik military officials said yesterday that "fierce fighting" is underway around the town of Tavildara and that the government is rushing in fresh forces from the Defense, Internal Affairs, and State Security Ministries. The officials expressed frustration over the fact that the mountainous terrain prevents government forces from fully exploiting their superiority in armor and artillery. United Tajik Opposition vice-chairman Akbar Turanjozoda, however, charged that Russian aviation ensured the government’s recapture of Tavildara on July 21, the day after the armistice signed in Ashgabat on July 19 was to take effect. (see Monitor, July 19 and 22). Turanjozoda said in his statement that Russian planes are now bombing UTO-controlled villages in the area, and that Russian infantry is patrolling the critical Khaborobad pass jointly with Tajik forces. The Russian "peacekeeping" command in Tajikistan rejected the charges as "an attempt to discredit the peacekeeping forces" which, the command said, "maintain full neutrality and do not interfere in Tajikistan’s internal conflict." (Interfax, Itar-Tass, July 23)

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