Tajik forces kill suspected Islamist rebel -source
Tajikistan's forces have shot dead a suspected Islamist rebel accused by the authorities of spearheading an armed insurgency on the country's border with Afghanistan, a senior security source said on Wednesday, Reuters reported.
Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari and Afghanistan's Hamid Karzai were both in Tajikistan for talks on security in Central Asia, a key transit route for supplies for U.S. troops fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev was due to arrive later as part of a regional summit.
Militants have staged a string of attacks in Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan in recent weeks. Governments have blamed the attacks on a broader rise in Islamist militancy.
The security source said that the rebel Nemat Azizov was killed as a result of a special operation in Tajikistan.
"Two gang members were killed ... overnight. One of them was Nemat Azizov," the source told Reuters.
Earlier this month, unidentified gunmen attacked a police post near Tajikistan's border with Afghanistan and engaged in a lengthy gun battle with Tajik forces. Five militants were killed, according to Tajikistan's authorities.
Governments in Central Asia have blamed the latest surge in violence on the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, a Taliban-linked group seeking to overthrow Central Asia's secular governments.
Other security experts suggest the unrest could be linked to Taliban fighters seeking refuge in the mountains of ex-Soviet Central Asia amid heavy fighting in south Afghanistan.
Human rights groups, however, say the threat is largely exaggerated and used by Central Asia's authoritarian leaders as an excuse to clamp down on political dissent at a time when tough economic times are fuelling public discontent.