DUSHANBE, April 16, 2011, Asia-Plus -- Authorities are trying to identify the bodies of militants killed in a recent special operation carried out in the Rasht Valley, a high-ranking source in the Ministry of Interior told Asia-Plus on Saturday.

He, however, refrained from asserting that Abdullo Rahimov, widely known as Mullo Abdullo, is also among the killed militants.

“Some ten persons were killed in the operation and police are currently working to identify the bodies,” said the source, “We cannot give more detailed information, until the identification process is finished.”  The Interior Ministry official added that there were no causalities among police forces.        

We will recall that sources close to the former United Tajik Opposition (UTO) filed commanders told Asia-Plus Thursday morning that the government forces have launched a special operation in the Rasht Valley to hunt down Mullo Abdullo and his followers.  The operation, involving armored carriers and combat helicopters, began in the village of Samsoliq in Nourobod district, some 135 kilometers east of Dushanbe, on April 14.

On Friday, sources at the country’s power-wielding structures said that there are casualties among government forces.  But their reports diverge from each other.  Thus, one of them said that three police officers and one officer from special services were killed in gunfire between the government forces and unknown militants in the Boloshahr area on April 14, while the other one said that two officers from the power-wielding structures and eight militants were killed in the skirmish.

Radio Liberty’s Tajik Service reported on April 15 that the Interior Ministry Mahmadullo Asadulloyev said militant leader Mullo Abdullo was killed on April 14 along with 10 of his confederates in the operation in the village of Samsoliq in Nourobod district.  The spokesman gave no other details about the incident.

Authorities say Mullo Abdullo, who never accepted the peace agreement of 1997 that ended Tajikistan''s civil war, and his confederates were behind the September 19 attack on Tajik army forces in Kamarob Gorge in Rasht district, in which at least 28 servicemen were killed and more than 10 others wounded.  Following this incident, the government forces began a counterterrorism operation in Rasht on September 22.

In recent months, Tajik law enforcement authorities have said several times that the operation in the Rasht Valley was over, but then admitted it is continuing.  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 one of the suspected attackers Alovuddin Davlatov (Ali Bedaki) and his seven confederates have been killed in a special operation in Rasht district.