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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Rebel Surge Halted

DUSHANBE, Tajikistan () -- Tajikistan said Friday that government troops had stemmed an advance by insurgent Islamic rebels in severe fighting in a remote mountain region 200 kilometers to the east of the capital Dushanbe.

Zafar Sayidov, spokesman for President Imomali Rakhmonov, said government forces had counter-attacked with artillery against guerrillas who have gained ground this week. Aid workers who recently evacuated their local headquarters said the rebels had advanced close to the region's main village of Tavildara.

Rebels from the Afghan-based Islamic opposition launched an offensive just over a week ago which coincided with an internal military uprising -- now over -- and the restart of United Nations peace talks with the Moscow-backed Dushanbe government.