Dushanbe, August 31, Interfax - The Tajik Interior Ministry has apprehended 14 citizens suspected of hoisting a black flag in the center of Nurek and spreading ISIS ideas, the ministry said on Saturday.
Nurek is situated 70 kilometers southeast of Dushanbe; it is mostly populated by energy sector workers. The largest hydropower plant in Tajikistan, Nurek HPP, is located nearby. Nurek has a population of approximately 28,000.
"Fourteen residents of Nurek were detained by officers of the Interior Ministry department in the Khatlon Region in the course of their investigative work on suspicion of propaganda of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria [ISIS] ideas," the department said.
"Fourteen Nurek residents became acquainted online with a certain Tajik ISIS fighter, Yunus, and hoisted a black flag in the center of the town to prove their loyalty to the terrorist group," it said.
The men seized in Nurek are aged from 21 to 37. Extremism accusations are pending.
The Interior Ministry confirmed that a similar incident occurred in the Shahrtuz District of Tajikistan, 185 kilometers south of Dushanbe. Eight teenagers, aged from 15 to 18, were seized there for hoisting a black flag. It did not say whether the teenagers were indicted or not.
According to the Tajik Interior Ministry, 519 citizens of Tajikistan are fighting for ISIS and another 150 have died fighting in Syria and Iraq. Tajik citizens claim in their propagandist videos that at least 2,000 citizens of Tajikistan are currently staying in territories occupied by ISIS.