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20 militants killed on Tajik-Afghan border

At least 20 Islamist militants and one border guard were killed earlier this week in a firefight along the volatile border between Afghanistan and Tajikistan, Tajik officials said today.

world Updated: Sep 11, 2010 13:37 IST

At least 20 Islamist militants and one border guard were killed earlier this week in a firefight along the volatile border between Afghanistan and Tajikistan, Tajik officials said on Saturday.

"These Afghan anti-government fighters were hiding on an island in the river Pyandzh," which forms the border between the two states, border guard spokesman Colonel Khushnud Rakhmatullayev told AFP.

"There was a clash with small arms fire which lasted nearly 24 hours. As a result, 20 militants, which was most of the militant group were killed.... One border ensign was also killed," he added.

He said that the clash started on Wednesday and lasted until the early hours of Thursday morning.

Tajikistan, where a civil war between Islamist forces and backers of President Emomali Rakhmon's government killed tens of thousands following the collapse of the Soviet Union, shares a porous 1,300-kilometre border with Afghanistan.

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