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RUSSIAN GUARDS IN AFGHAN-TAJIK BORDER SEIZE HEROIN - 2002-07-14


Russian guards patrolling the border between Tajikistan and Afghanistan have seized more than 200 kilograms of heroin after a shootout with drug smugglers.

Officials in the capital Dushanbe say the border guards encountered a group of 10 suspected drug traffickers late Saturday. The officials say the intruders used a raft to cross the Pyandzh River, which separates Afghanistan from Tajikistan.

A border guards spokesman said four suspects were killed in the gunbattle and that the rest escaped back into Afghanistan.

Russia has some 25-thousand troops in Tajikistan to help the former Soviet republic guard the border with Afghanistan against weapons and drug smugglers and to block the movements of Islamic extremists.

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