Russian Guards Kill Three Armed Men on Tajik-Afghan Border
Russian border guards shot dead Saturday three armed men trying to enter Tajikistan illegally from the northern Afghanistan region of Kunduz, long a Taliban redoubt, a border guard spokesman said Sunday.
The three men had opened fire on the border guards before trying to hide on an island on the Pyandzh river, which marks the border between Afghanistan and Tajikistan, the spokesman added.
Kunduz, the Taliban Islamic militia's last stronghold in northern Afghanistan, fell to Northern Alliance forces early Sunday after massive defections from the Taliban ranks, reports said.
Such incidents are relatively frequent on the volatile Afghan-Tajik border, where unknown men shot at Russian border guards in a separate incident Friday.
Last month, a Russian guard was killed in skirmishes with Afghan drug traffickers trying to cross the border.
Tajikistan, one of the poorest of the former Soviet republics, has become a major trafficking route for drugs entering Russia and Western Europe from Afghanistan.
Some 11,000 Russian frontier guards are posted on the 1,200-kilometer (750-mile) border between Tajikistan and Afghanistan under a 1992 agreement between Moscow and Dushanbe, and a 7,000-strong Russian division is based in the Central Asian state -- Dushanbe (AFP)
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