Soccer-Australia monitoring Tajikistan tensions ahead of qualifier

Sept 5 (Reuters) - Australia's national soccer body is monitoring the security situation in Tajikistan ahead of their World Cup qualifier in Dushanbe after 10 people were killed in violence in the former Soviet state on Friday. At least eight policemen and two gunmen were killed in the Tajik capital and the adjacent city of Vahdat in attacks local authorities blamed on forces loyal to the country's own deputy defence minister. Tajikistan, an impoverished Muslim nation of eight million and the poorest ex-Soviet state, is still volatile after a 1992-97 civil war that killed tens of thousands. Australia are scheduled to play the hosts in Dushanbe on Tuesday. "We're across the situation, but no details on if the game will be affected," an FFA spokesman said on Saturday. Players' association Professional Footballers Australia said it was also "closely monitoring" events in the troubled Central Asian nation. "The PFA will continue to work with FFA and engage with the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs to ensure the safety of the players," a PFA spokesman said. The unrest prompted the U.S. embassy in Dushanbe to shut and a statement on its website warned that the incidents "may be precursors to other acts of violence." Australia, who thrashed Bangladesh 5-0 on Thursday, are top of Group B in Asian qualifying for the 2018 World Cup finals. (Editing by Greg Stutchbury)