Car bomb hits Tajikistan police station

September 3, 2010 12:00 am

, DUSHANBE, Sep 3 – A car packed with explosives rammed into a police station in northern Tajikistan on Friday, triggering a powerful blast that injured at least 25 people, interior ministry officials said.

"A passenger car packed with explosives rammed into the right wing of the organised crime squad building," in the northern Tajikistan city of Khujand, an interior ministry spokesman told AFP.

"According to preliminary information, the number of wounded policemen who have been transported to medical institutions in the city of Khujand is 25," a high-ranking police official told AFP under condition of anonymity.

The blast came a day after Tajikistan President Emomali Rakhmon sacked his long-time security boss following a humiliating prison break last month in which 25 Al-Qaeda-linked militants escaped and killed six guards.

Most of them are believed to be still at large, and are likely headed for the remote Rasht Valley region near the Afghan border, where many militants were arrested last year during a government clampdown on the restive area.

The escaped militants include nationals of Afghanistan and six Russian citizens, all of them natives of the volatile North Caucasus region, where Russian authorities are battling an Islamist insurgency.

The country has been on high alert since the escape, setting up checkpoints on key roads across the mountainous Central Asian state and strengthening border positions with neighbours Afghanistan, China, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.

Police said Thursday that a special forces operation north of the capital Dushanbe had captured the ring-leader of the prison break, Ibrokhim Nasredinov, a former inmate of the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.

Tajikistan, where a civil war between Islamist forces and backers of Rakhmon\’s secular government killed tens of thousands following the collapse of the Soviet Union, shares a porous 1,300-kilometre (800-mile) border with Afghanistan.



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