Turkmen Leader Slams Police, Army

ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan — Turkmenistan's president berated the military and police for their handling of a highly unusual gun battle in the capital, Ashgabat, over the weekend.

The initial, unconfirmed reports said the gun battles Friday and Saturday involved a radical Islamic group. The government said Sunday, however, that the gun battle was with drug traffickers. President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov repeated that Monday and acknowledged that security officers had been killed in the operation.

Berdymukhammedov, who did not specify the number of casualties, berated the Defense Ministry, the Interior Ministry and the State Security Ministry, saying they were poorly equipped and ill-prepared. "You should closely study the operation and the actions leading up to the neutralization and detention of the criminal group, so that the same mistakes are not committed again," he said.