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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Guards Hit Tajikistan Opposition

MOSCOW -- Russian border guards in Tajikistan shelled opposition fighters who tried to enter the Central Asian state from Afghanistan on Sunday, Itar-Tass news agency said Monday.

The clash came as Tajikistan's ex-communist government and the opposition, an alliance of Islamic groups and liberals who fled to neighboring Afghanistan after losing a bloody clan war in 1992, agreed on a temporary cease-fire.

Tass quoted Russian border guards spokesman Sergei Fatkulin as saying the number of casualties among the opposition was unknown and that the border guards suffered no losses.

The rebels have been striking Tajik and Russian targets across the ill-defended frontier since the war ended.

The ceasefire agreement, signed in Tehran on Sunday, would take effect after the arrival of United Nations observers and last until November 5, Tass reported Sunday. It was not clear when the UN observers would arrive.

Fatkulin said the area around Border Post No. 12 in the Serigor region was being combed for rebels. Four Russian border guards were killed close to the post last week. Tajik government forces said Sunday they had taken control of the key Tavildara region just hours before the ceasefire was signed.