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Tajikistan, Uzbekistan to demine border

April 18, 2018

DUSHANBE, Tajikistan: Tajikistan and Uzbekistan are set to demine their shared border, Tajikistan´s border service said on Tuesday, as the Central Asian neighbours look to roll back more than two decades of hostile relations.

A representative of Tajikistan´s border service told AFP on Tuesday that a joint commission had been created to "thoroughly study in what sections of the Uzbek-Tajik border there are anti-personnel mines" and to create a schedule for demining.

Uzbekistan initially mined its side of the 1,332-kilometre border in 2000 to prevent incursions from Islamist forces held over from the five-year civil war that began in Tajikistan shortly after its independence from the Soviet Union. But according to the UN-backed Tajikistan Mine Action Centre, 374 Tajik citizens, mostly shepherds and other residents of cross-border regions, have been killed by mines since they were laid.

Tajik leader Emomali Rakhmon hosted Uzbek counterpart Shavkat Mirziyoyev in a meeting signalling a thaw between the two countries in March.