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Tajik Jets Bomb Drug Smugglers in Afghanistan

Tajik Jets Bomb Drug Smugglers in Afghanistan

Afghan officials say airplanes from neighboring Tajikistan bombed and killed six drug traffickers on the Afghan side of the border, after a clash killed two Tajik border guards.

Officials from Takhar province in northern Afghanistan said smugglers, along with the Taliban, are active in a small forest near a river in Darqad district on the border of the two countries.

A Takhar governor’s spokesman, Jawad Hijri, said a clash broke out between the Taliban and the smugglers Sunday and expanded to involve the Tajik border guards. After two guards were killed in the fighting, Tajik forces carried out heavy artillery shelling followed by the aerial bombardment.

According to local media reports, some officials said the jets could be Tajik or Russian.

According to Reuters, Russian and Tajik officials have denied bombing in Takhar.

The news agency also quoted Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid saying the clash was between drug smugglers and Tajik border security.

“Taliban fighters have no permission to clash with neighboring countries,” Mujahid told Reuters.

Border clashes between Afghanistan and its Central Asian neighbors are rare. But security in Takhar has deteriorated in recent months.

Earlier this year, the Taliban seized a district center in Takhar and held it for a few hours. Afghan security forces recaptured it after heavy fighting.