DUSHANBE (Reuters) - Tajik border guards have been engaged in a firefight with a small group of militants trying to enter the country from Afghanistan, the authorities said on Monday, with losses on both sides.
Nine armed militants tried to cross the border near the Panj border post on Saturday, the State Security Committee said in a statement, but were noticed by Tajik servicemen who killed one intruder in an ensuing gunfight.
One Tajik border guard has also died from heavy wounds and others were still chasing the remaining militants on Monday.
The committee described the militants as a terrorist group, making the incident distinct from regular clashes with drug smugglers on the same border.
Tajik security services said in January that as many as 5,000 militants from Taliban and other Islamist groups had amassed near its 1,344 km (835 mile) border with Afghanistan.
Russia has a military base in the former Soviet republic, which has a population of 9 million. But it pulled some of its troops away from the border to capital Dushanbe last December and said last month it would downsize the base.
(Reporting by Nazarali Pirnazarov Editing by Jeremy Gaunt; Writing by Olzhas Auyezov)