2015-08-19 12:34:00

Teenagers hoist ISIL flag in southern Tajikistan

Dushanbe, August 19, Interfax - A group of young men has been detained in the Shahritus District in southern Tajikistan on suspicion of sympathizing with the terrorist organization Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, a senior officer of republican law enforcement authorities told Interfax on Wednesday.

The ISIL flag was hoisted on a monument of Ismail Samani, the founder of the first Tajik state in the 9th century. In many cities and districts of the republic similar monuments were installed on the former places of Vladimir Lenin monuments.

"A group of Tajik teenagers, aged from 15 to 18, has been detained to find out the reasons for their actions, the hoisting of a black flag which somewhat resembled the flag of the so-called Islamic State, above the Ismail Samani monument," he said.

No formal accusations have been brought against the teenagers. Detectives are trying to establish whether it was a political act or just a bad joke. "So far, nothing can be said for sure. We are looking into it, we shall wait and see," the source said.

The Shahritus District is situated 185 kilometers south of Dushanbe, only 20 kilometers from the Afghan border. This is the Khatlon District of Tajikistan, the place of residence of most Tajiks who have joined the ISIL fight in Syria.

According to the Tajik Interior Ministry, 519 citizens of the republic are now fighting for ISIL and about 150 have been killed fighting in Syria and Iraq. Those Tajiks said in their propaganda videos that at least 2,000 citizens of Tajikistan are now staying on the ISIL-occupied territories.

The Russian Supreme Court has branded ISIL as a terrorist organization and prohibited its activity in the country.