An armed fugitive soldier of the National Guard has reportedly been detained in Tursunzoda.

An official source at the country’s law enforcement authorities says the private soldier of the National Guard, who was conscripted from Sughd province, left the National Guard military unit deployed in Tursunzoda yesterday night without permission taking assault rifle Kalashnikov with him.

“Additional traffic police posts were established on all roads from Tursunzoda and the fugitive soldier was detained today morning and returned to the military unit,” the source said.

He refrained from giving further details of the incident.  The military prosecutor’s office has launched probe into the incident.  

Formed on December 4, 1992, the National Guard was originally a special forces unit known as the Brigade of Special Mission under the Interior Ministry of Tajikistan.  During its first years, the Guard underwent serious testing, which earned the trust of the President and the people.  It was the reason why the President changed it from the Special Mission Brigade to the Presidential Guard.

Their primary task is ensuring public safety and security.  Within two years, four additional units were formed in the cities of Buston (formerly Chkalovsk in Sughd province), Levakand (formerly Sarband in Khatlon province), and Obigarm (Rasht Valley).  They had a similar structure to the rest of the military.

On January 26, 2004, the Presidential Guard was transformed into the National Guard.  The National Guard is under direct command of the President of Tajikistan.