Tajikistan reinforces border after Tajik militants appear in video fighting in Afghanistan

2 years ago Web Desk 0

Afghan officials said the majority of the militants who overran the Maymay district in the northeastern Badakhshan Province in November were foreign fighters, including militants from Tajikistan.


They said the fighters belong to Jamaat Ansarullah, a militant group founded in Afghanistan by Tajik national Amriddin Tabarov in 2010.


In early December, a 10-minute video appeared on social media purportedly showing Tajik insurgents fighting against Afghan government forces in Maymay, which borders Tajikistan.


While RFE/RL cannot verify the authenticity of the footage, some of the fighters can be heard speaking a distinct Persian dialect spoken in Tajikistan.


Footage depicts them killing men in Afghan Army uniforms and civilian clothes and setting fire to a building.  At the end, the militants show off weapons and vehicles they purportedly seized from the Afghan troops.


Afghan authorities confirmed the killings and the destruction in Maymay.  Media quoted local residents who said militants, “particularly the Tajiks,” killed and beheaded Afghan soldiers.


Afghan lawmaker Latif Pedram, a native of the area, published a list of names that he described as militants from Tajikistan who took part in the Maymay attack.


In Tajikistan, the security service has since reportedly identified at least 15 Tajik nationals whose faces or names appeared on videos and statements shared by Afghan officials in connection with the fall of Maymay.


It has raised alarms in Dushanbe, the sources said, because they are ordinary individuals with no apparent connections to any political, religious, or opposition groups.  The sources — familiar with the situation — spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to speak to the media.


The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said an elite unit had been deployed near the areas where Tajik fighters are thought to be concentrated on the Afghan side of the frontier.


According to RFE/RL, the presence of Tajik militants in Afghanistan and the volatile tribal areas of Pakistan has been known for many years.  But the difference in previous cases is that the majority of them were taken to Afghanistan as children by their parents during the civil war of the 1990s or in the immediate postwar years.  Many were born there to Tajik families.


In the latest cases, however, the Tajik militants are people who left the country between 2010 and 2017 — men mainly aged between 20 and 40 years, with some having brought their wives and children with them to Afghanistan, RFE/RL noted.


Source: Asia Plus