Tajikistan is ruled by autocratic President Emomali Rahmon. File picture: Carlo Allegri/Reuters

Moscow – About a dozen police officers in the Central Asian nation of Tajikistan have been fired after failing to lose a sufficient amount of weight in a fitness and cultural programme for the force, the Interfax news agency reported Friday.

Other officers had managed to lose as much 20 kilograms in the scheme, which was started this year and requires 5-kilometre runs three times a week, the Tajik Interior Ministry was cited as saying.

Officers also must attend theatre performances at least once a month as part of the programme, the report said.

Tajikistan, a former Soviet republic with a population of 8 million, is ruled by autocratic President Emomali Rahmon, who has led the country for more than two decades.

Last year Rahmon was officially bestowed the power to rule for the rest of his life.