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Archive for Sunday, October 7, 2001

Tajik president orders military to be on high alert

October 7, 2001

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— Tajik President Emomali Rakhmonov ordered all his country's armed forces on high alert Sunday following the U.S-led military attack against neighboring Afghanistan, where the ruling Taliban militia is sheltering Osama bin Laden, the main suspect in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the presidential press service said.

The head of the Tajik armed forces ordered all units in this former Soviet republic to be put on high alert, the press service said.

About 25,000 Russian border guards are stationed in Tajikistan to patrol the 1,200 kilometer (750 mile) border that Tajikistan shares with Afghanistan.

Those forces also were put on high alert by the command of the Russian border guards, Gen. Ramazan Dzhaforov, confirmed Sunday night.

The leadership of the Russian border guards was informed of the start of U.S.-led military action against the Taliban militia in Afghanistan and the order was issued for the force to be extra vigilant.

The Russian border guards were also told to repel any attacks that might be launched by the Taliban who have units active inside Afghanistan just across the Tajik border.

By late Sunday night, the situation on the border was calm, Dzhaforov said.

Russian border guards have been on alert for months, he stressed.

In addition to guarding the border against possible attacks by the Taliban, the border guards are involved in stopping drugs and refugees from entering Tajikistan.

Tajikistan is among the poorest of the former Soviet republics and suffered terribly during a civil war in the 1990s.

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