DUSHANBE, April 14, 2011, Asia-Plus  -- The government launched a special operation near the village of Samsolik in Nourobod district today morning, a source in Rasht said.

According to him, former head of the regional state body empowered to combat organized crime in Rasht Mirzokhouja Ahmadov and his supporters joined the government forces in the operation, involving armored carriers and combat helicopters.  “It is not yet known whether Mullo Abdullo and his militants are in the district or not,” the source said.

Meanwhile, the Interior Ministry spokesman Mahmdullo Asadulloyev has denied this report as “baseless.”  “Tactical exercises for units from the rapid deployed force are being conducted in Nourobod,” he said.

Faridoun Mahmadaliyev, a spokesman for the Ministry of Defense, also noted that tactical exercises, involving armored carriers, artillery and combat aviation, are being conducted for servicemen of power-wielding structures in the Rasht Valley from April 14 to April 16.

We will recall that the government forces launched a counterterrorism operation in Rasht on September 22, 2010, following a September 19 Kamarob ambush that killed at least 28 servicemen of the Ministry of Defense.  The authorities blamed the September 19 attack on the government convoy on Mullo Abdullo and Alovuddin Davlatov.

On November 9, the head of the State Committee for National Security, Saymumin Yatimov, said that the operation in Rasht was almost over.  He recalled that some 20 gunmen had been killed and some 30 others either surrendered or sided with government forces in pursuit of the militants.

The law enforcement authorities reported on January 4 that Alovuddin Davlatov and his seven confederates have been killed in a special operation in Rasht district.