Shootout at Tajik, Afghan border kills four
A shootout occurred late 21 Mar. 2013 on the Tajik-Afghan border between armed Afghans and residents of the Shuroabad District of Tajikistan; four people died, Ozodi Radio reports.
According to local residents, three armed Afghan contrabandists came to the Dekhi Qozi village the previous night. They took four local residents hostage and wanted to take them to Afghanistan. But the hostages resisted the captors’ attempts: the contrabandists and a 52-year old hostage were killed.
A source in the State Committee for National Security, which protects the Tajik state border, confirmed the border incident, but said no details were available.
Background: Hostage-taking is a frequent occurrence among Tajik citizens who fail to pay Afghan providers for drugs they delivered. Illicit drugs traders’ relatives are often taken hostage.
The case on 21 Mar. 2013 is the first precedent when hostages killed their captors. According to official data, five armed clashes took place between contrabandists and Tajik border guards in the month of March; five bandits and a Tajik border guard were killed in this period.
According to information provided by the State Agency for Controlling Narcotics, some six tons of narcotics were seized in 2012 alone, up 40% from 2011: 515 kg of heroin, 630 kg of opium and 4.8 tons of cannabis. A total of 946 individuals were arrested based on charges of smuggling narcotics including 33 women and 28 foreigners.
The Tajik-Afghan border is 1,344 km-long.