Tajikistan: At least 17 killed in 'terrorist' attacks in Dushanbe and Vadhat

Police were still at the scene of one of the shootings that took place in Dushanbe, Friday, after a day of violence that left at least 17 people dead. Armed gunmen carried out attacks across Dushanbe and the nearby city of Vadhat earlier on Friday, killing at least eight police officers. The Tajik government has blamed the shootings on forces loyal to the country's deputy defence minister, Major General Abdulkhalim Mirzo Nazarzod. According to a statement made by the Tajik Interior Ministry, police officers killed two of the gunmen, wounded three and detained six people. One of the dead gunmen is believed to have been a state security official. The ministry's statement also claimed Nazarzod was the leader of a 'terrorist' group. Nazarzod was officially dismissed from his position on Friday by President Emomali Rakhmon following the attacks and is now believed to be on the run in the Romit Gorge, north-east of Dushanbe. The former deputy minister is a member of the opposition Islamic Revival Party of Tajikistan and served as an opposition militiaman during the civil war that took place in the 1990s. He joined the Tajik military as part of the peace process of 1997. Spokesman for the Tajik Defense Ministry Faridun Makhmadalliev said in a statement following the attack that no Tajik servicemen where killed during the shootings, despite conflicting reports suggesting that several military personnel were shot dead or wounded by the gunmen. The US Embassy in Tajikistan closed following the attacks and warned in a message posted on their website that the shootings "may be precursors to other acts of violence."

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