Tajikistan Protests Remarks By Afghan Ambassador To Russia

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DUSHANBE -- The Tajik Foreign Ministry says that it summoned the Afghan ambassador in Dushanbe late in December and lodged a diplomatic protest over remarks made by the Afghan ambassador to Russia.

The ministry said on January 12 that a protest note was handed to the Afghan ambassador in Dushanbe, Zalmai Yunusi, on December 31.

The ministry's statement comes several days after an interview with the Afghan ambassador to Russia, Abdul Qayum Kochi, circulated on YouTube.

In the interview, Kochi suggested that Tajiks and Russians were behind illegal drug production in Afghanistan, which borders the former Soviet republic of Tajikistan.

Kochi also called Tajikistan "a small country" where "people are not allowed to use their own language."

In its January 12 statement, the Foreign Ministry said that Kabul had responded to the protest by saying that Kochi's words reflected his personal opinion and had nothing to do with Kabul's official views.

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