By Associated Press - Monday, August 27, 2018

MOSCOW (AP) - Security officials in Tajikistan said on Monday that two people have been killed and one injured after men stormed the border from Afghanistan.

Tajik Border Guards said in a statement that they are looking for a group of 10 to 12 armed men who crossed the Panj River separating the country from Afghanistan on Sunday. The men, armed with a hand-held grenade launcher and automatic rifles opened fire on three forest rangers, killing two of them and injuring one.

Tajikistan has a long, porous border with Afghanistan, and the area across the Panj is currently under Taliban control.

The incident comes a week before Moscow hosts a Taliban delegation for Afghanistan talks.

Russia’s Defense Ministry later on Monday denied reports that it carried out airstrikes on nearby Taliban-controlled territory in retaliation.

Officials in Russia and Tajikistan have long been worried about a potential spillover of militant activities from Afghanistan. The chief of Tajikistan’s Border Guard Forces earlier this year raised the alarm about an estimated 7,000 Afghan militants roaming the border area.

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