KABUL: A Tajik or Russian aircraft bombed a northeastern Afghan border district during a clash between gunmen and Tajik border guards, and six of the gunmen were killed after they killed two of the guards, two Afghan government officials said on Monday.
However, the RIA news agency cited the Russian Defense Ministry as saying that Russia was not behind the air strike in northern Afghanistan and its military aircraft have not been conducting any operations near Afghanistan’s border with Tajikistan.
Cross-border clashes are rare on Afghanistan’s border with Tajikistan, compared, for example, with fighting along Afghanistan’s eastern border with Pakistan.
Khalil Asir, a spokesman for Takhar provincial police, said it was not clear if it was a Russian or Tajik aircraft that conducted the bombing on Sunday in Durqad district of Takhar province, but eight Taliban were killed, and six wounded.
Jawed Hejri, spokesman for Takhar provincial governor, also said it was not clear where the aircraft came from but he said the six people killed in the clash with Tajik border forces were drug smugglers.
“The identity of the drugs smugglers is not known,” Hejri said.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid confirmed the clash and but said it broke out between drug smugglers and Tajik border guards and the aircraft bombed a forested area used by smugglers.
“We are investigating this as Taliban fighters have no permission to clash with neighbor countries,” he said.
Officials at the Tajikistan and Russian embassies in Kabul were not immediately available for comment.