Security officials in Tajikistan say a counterterrorism operation against militants in the country's east is nearly complete.

State National Security Committee chairman Saymumin Yatimov said Tuesday the Rasht Valley has been largely cleared of militants, with authorities now in control of the area.

There is no independent verification of Yatimov's claim.

Tajik authorities launched the military operation near the Afghan border in September, following an attack on a military convoy that killed 28 soldiers.  The al-Qaida-linked Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan claimed responsibility for the attack.

Tajik officials say Taliban and al-Qaida fighters have been trying to enter Tajikistan from northern Afghanistan to flee operations by NATO-led forces.

Tajikistan is a majority-Muslim country and the poorest state to emerge from the collapse of the Soviet Union. The Rasht region has been the stronghold of Islamic insurgency since Tajikistan's bloody civil war in the 1990s.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.