Security officers in Tajikistan say Afghan drug dealers are holding at least 20 Tajiks hostage in neighboring Afghanistan.
The Itar-Tass news agency reports most of the hostages are drug couriers who owe debts to their suppliers. The agency quotes a Tajik security officer as saying there may be many more hostages than reported.
The officer said Tajik authorities are taking measures to free the captives.
Tajikistan has become a major trafficking route for illegal drugs entering Russia and western Europe from Afghanistan.
Russia has more than 25-thousand troops in Tajikistan to help guard the border with Afghanistan against arms and drug smugglers, and to block the movements of Islamic extremists.