Tajik or Russian warplanes bombed the border area in Takhar province killing at least eight Taliban, a police spokesman said. But, a spokesman for the provincial governor said the six killed in a clash with Tajik forces were drug smugglers.

Taliban fighters in Surkhroad district of Nangarhar province, east of Kabul, Afghanistan on June 16, 2018.
Taliban fighters in Surkhroad district of Nangarhar province, east of Kabul, Afghanistan on June 16, 2018. (AP Archive)

A Tajik or Russian aircraft bombed a northeastern Afghan border district during a clash between gunmen and Tajik border guards, and six of the gunmen were killed after they killed two of the guards, two Afghan government officials said on Monday.

Cross-border clashes are rare on Afghanistan's border with Tajikistan, compared, for example, with fighting along Afghanistan's eastern border with Pakistan.

Khalil Asir, a spokesman for Takhar provincial police, said it was not clear if it was a Russian or Tajik aircraft that conducted the bombing on Sunday in Durqad district of Takhar province, but eight Taliban were killed, and six wounded.

Jawed Hejri, spokesman for Takhar provincial governor, also said it was not clear where the aircraft came from but he said the six people killed in the clash with Tajik border forces were drug smugglers.

"The identity of the drugs smugglers is not known," Hejri said.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid confirmed the clash but said it broke out between drug smugglers and Tajik border guards and the aircraft bombed a forested area used by smugglers.

"We are investigating this as Taliban fighters have no permission to clash with neighbour countries," he said.

Officials at the Tajikistan and Russian embassies in Kabul were not immediately available for comment. 

Source: Reuters