Afghan, Pakistani conflicts spilling into Central Asia: CSM report

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Dushanbe (Tajikistan), July 31 (ANI): Conflicts in Afghanistan and Pakistan are spilling beyond their borders, according to a Christian Science Monitor report.

According to the report, a spate of militant clashes in Tajikistan is emerging as a cause of concern for neighboring Central Asian nations and Russia.

The issue of regional security was raised at a Thursday summit in Tajik capital Dushanbe with the presidents of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Russia.

Tajikistan, which shares a 750-mile border with Afghanistan, sits on the front line of spillover effects.

Last Saturday, two explosions rocked Dushanbe. Nobody claimed responsibility for the attacks, but the Tajik government said the perpetrators were linked to the Taliban.

The Interior Ministry said they were "active members of Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) [who] participated in the fights against the coalition forces in Afghanistan and Pakistan and against government forces in Pakistan's region of Waziristan."

The US lists the IMU as a terrorist group.

This month, the security forces have been involved in at least four shootouts in Tavildara, near the Afghan border. In one clash, they killed five militants from Russia who may been associated with five Chechens arrested earlier this month who were planning "to transfer money earned from drug trafficking to terrorist organizations in Pakistan and Afghanistan," according to the police report.

According to local media reports, government forces are also fighting the armed group of Mullo Abdullo, a former field commander who fought on the opposition during the 1990s civil war and left for Afghanistan after it ended because he was dissatisfied with the peace treaty.

The rise in violence may also be tied to the United States attempts to find a new supply line through Tajikistan for its forces in Afghanistan, after convoys on its main route in Pakistan were repeatedly attacked by militants.

Tajikistan has agreed to provide its territory for the transit of non-lethal cargo to supply US troops in Afghanistan. This route, called the Northern Distribution Network, goes through the Baltics, Russia, and Central Asian states.

The Taliban have warned the Tajik government against cooperating with the US.

Some analysts, however, say the recent shootouts have little to do with Taliban and instead reflect domestic conflict. (ANI)

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