Posted: Jul 27, 2012 8:19 PM by MTN
A communications director and photographer for the Bozeman-based Central Asia Institute are stranded in Tajikistan, caught in the cross-fire of an abrupt conflict, according to the CAI.
Karin Ronnow, Erik Petersen and Sarfraz Khan have been stranded in the eastern Tajikistan city of Khorog for the last week, according to the CAI. They were reportedly in Khorog, completing an extended field trip to Afghanistan and Tajikistan, to visit and document school, educational, and women's projects in the remote areas of the Hindu Kush and Pamir mountains.
"Ronnow informed us that all cell phone communications, internet, television were shut off by the Tajik government. The airport has been closed, roads out of Khorog are blocked off, all government offices and post offices closed, with only a few grocery stores and bakeries open a few hours a day until the rations run out. The nearby border with Afghanistan is also shut down," the CAI website states.
On Thursday, the U.S. Embassy in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, issued a statement regarding the conflict, stating that it "is deeply concerned by the recent violence and reported loss of life in the Gorno-Badakshan Autonomous Region of Tajikistan. We offer our sincere condolences for the loss of life and express our concern for the safety of civilians in the conduct of operations by Tajik authorities. We urge that all measures be taken to allow the safe evacuation of civilians from the combat zones, including foreigners currently trapped in the city of Khorog," according to the CAI website.
The U.S. State Department, U.S. Embassy Tajikistan, U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, Tajikistan government, and U.S. military have been coordinating efforts to evacuate them, and other stranded foreigners safely from the conflict.
(Photo from the CAI website)