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April 18, 2018

Tajikistan, Uzbekistan to demine border

World

 
April 18, 2018

DUSHANBE, Tajikistan: Tajikistan and Uzbekistan are set to demine their shared border, TajikistanĀ“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 TajikistanĀ“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.