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Russian troops in Tajik move

(First Edition)

MOSCOW (Reuter) - Russian troops have taken control of a key mountain pass in Tajikistan, separating opponents and supporters of the deposed Tajik President, Rakhmon Nabiyev, the Russian Defence Ministry said yesterday.

The action, sanctioned by the acting president, Akbarsho Iskandarov, will be welcomed by Central Asian neighbours fearful that conflict could engulf the region. But it may anger militant Tajiks, including Islamic factions, whose influence has grown since Mr Nabiyev's removal.

A ministry spokesman said troops had been deployed at the Chermozak pass, at a strategic bridge and at the nearby Nurek hydroelectric power station.