Armed Afghan drug dealers has reportedly kidnapped a shepherd in the board area of the Shamsiddin-Shohin (formerly Shouroobod) district in the Khatlon province.

An official source at the Tajik law enforcement authorities says a group of armed Afghan rug dealers illegally crossed the border river on January 1 and kidnapped a 42-year-old shepherd Tourakhon Nourmatov, taking from his village of Sari Chashma.  

The Main Border Guard Directorate at the State Committee for National Security (SCNS) neither confirmed nor denied this information.  

It is to be noted that Tajiks living near the border with Afghanistan are falling prey to drug dealers who are taking desperate measure to recover debts.  A number of Tajiks had been kidnapped by Afghan drug dealers in the previous years and held hostage until their families paid ransom money to clear debts. 

The Shamsiddin-Shohn district is the most vulnerable part of the Tajik border.  Its key location has made its residents an easy target of Afghan dealers looking for Tajiks to carry the drugs on to the next point of transit -- the capital Dushanbe, or even a location outside the country.