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Tajik Officials: About 40 Dead in Fighting Between Troops, Militants

Tajik officials say at least 12 troops have been killed in clashes with militants led by a former warlord accused of murdering a security services chief.

A government statement said 30 rebel fighters also were killed in the fighting Tuesday in a remote mountainous region close to the Afghan border. The statement said troops captured 40 rebel fighters, including eight Afghan citizens.

The attack early Tuesday on militants loyal to Tolib Ayombekov followed the murder Saturday of General Abdullo Nazarov, head of the Gorno-Badakhshan branch of the GKNB intelligence agency, successor to the Soviet-era KGB.

The fighting marked one of the worst outbreaks of violence in recent years in Tajikistan, an impoverished former Soviet country.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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