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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Fighter Planes Bomb Tajik Rebels


DUSHANBE, Tajikistan -- Several Su-25 fighter aircraft have bombed rebel positions in the former Soviet republic of Tajikistan, destroying a tank and an armored personnel carrier, military officials said Tuesday.

The officials, who declined to be identified, said the bombing raid was flown Monday evening against a group of rebels who are believed to have already killed between 10 to 15 of 56 Tajik soldiers they captured last week.

The attack raises the intensity of actions against rebels who have been keeping their captives in a mountain stronghold in the Tavil Dara region 130 kilometers east of Dushanbe.

The Islamic rebels lost a civil war in 1992 but have been fighting a rearguard action since. Nearly 25,000 Russian troops are deployed in Tajikistan against an estimated 5,000 rebel forces.

The fighting comes only days after Tajikistan's parliament decided to hold the nation's first democratic presidential election since the civil war, on Sept. 25.

Such bombing raids have beencarried out by the Uzbekistan airforce, but officials were silent on this question.