On Sunday July 28, Tajik authorities transferred 80 Afghan convicts to the Afghan authorities to serve their terms in prisons in Afghanistan, an official source at the Main Penitentiary Department of the Ministry of Justice of Tajikistan told Asia-Plus in an interview.

According to him, mainly drug traffickers and trespassers have been handed over to the Afghan authorities.

“Afghan nationals who are serving their terms in Tajikistan’s penal colonies for especially grave crimes as well as those who resisted arrest with weapons will continue serving their terms in penal colonies in Tajikistan,” the source said.    

Meanwhile, Radio Liberty’s Tajik Service, citing Mr. Sayed Masoom Badakhsh of the Afghan Embassy in Dushanbe, says 80 inmates were handed over to Afghan authorities at the Panji Poyon-Sher Khan Bandar border crossing on July 27.

“There are some Afghan citizens being left in Tajik detention centers.  After their cases are completed, they might be transferred” to Afghanistan as well,” Afghan diplomat was quoted as saying.

In May, the Afghan Foreign Ministry said Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani had asked Tajik President Emomali Rahmon to help with the repatriation of inmates to Afghanistan and had received a positive answer.

Mr. Badakhsh said that most of them were convicted of drug smuggling and illegal border crossing.

Recall, Tajik diplomats said in early July that eight citizens of Tajikistan detained in Afghanistan were returned to Tajikistan to serve their prison sentences or face trial.  Most of them were facing extremism or terrorism charges.

Citing Tajik Ambassador to Afghanistan Sharofiddin Imomov, Radio Liberty’s Tajik Service said the last eight Tajiks, who had been serving their terms in Afghan jails, were sent to Dushanbe in late June.

A Tajik-Afghan agreement on a prisoner exchange was signed in 2008.