Tajik Army Deserter Gets 17-Year Sentence After Trying To Join Taliban

By RFE/RL's Tajik Service

KULOB, Tajikistan -- A military court in Tajikistan's southern Kulob region has sentenced a member of the army's border guard service to 17 years in jail on charges of desertion and extremism.

The Kulob regional military court said on February 22 that Fathullo Faizullozoda was found guilty of deserting his border guard post, illegally crossing the border into Afghanistan, and trying to join Taliban militants in northern Afghanistan.

The trial was held behind closed doors. It was not immediately clear when the verdict and the sentence were pronounced.

Faizullozoda confessed to the court that he left his military unit and crossed the Afghan border on November 19.

He was detained by Afghan border guards and later extradited to Tajikistan.