Asia Pacific

China to build outpost for Tajikistan special forces near Afghan border

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A general view shows the town of Khorog, July 7, 2004. Khorog is the capital of the autonomous region of Gorno-Badakhshan near the Pamir mountains. REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov/Files

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DUSHANBE, Oct 28 (Reuters) - China will finance the construction of an outpost for a special forces unit of Tajikistan's police near the Tajik-Afghan border, the Central Asian nation's parliament said on Thursday.

The post will be located in Tajikistan's eastern Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Province in the Pamir mountains, which border China's Xinjiang province as well as the northeastern Afghan province of Badakhshan.

No Chinese troops will be stationed at the facility, a parliament spokesperson said.

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The plan to build the post comes amid tension between the Dushanbe government and Afghanistan's new Taliban rulers.

Tajik President Emomali Rakhmon has refused to recognise the Taliban government, calling for a broader representation of Afghanistan's ethnic groups - of which Tajiks are the second-biggest.

Kabul, in turn, has warned Dushanbe against meddling in its domestic affairs. According to Russian media, the Taliban have struck an alliance with an ethnic Tajik militant group based in northern Afghanistan which seeks to overthrow Rakhmon's government.

A Russia-led regional security organisation held exercises last week near the Tajik-Afghan border, designed to demonstrate that Moscow stands ready to protect Dushanbe in the event of an incursion from the south. L8N2RJ0AK

China is a major investor in Tajikistan and Beijing has also acted as a donor on several occasions, handing over, for example, a new parliament building free of charge.

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Reporting by Nazarali Pirnazarov Writing by Olzhas Auyezov

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