DUSHANBE -- Tajikistan and Uzbekistan launched a joint operation to demine part of their shared border, AKIpress reported Tuesday (October 9), quoting Tajik Border Troops spokesman Mukhammad Ulugkhojayev.
Specialists from both sides started the mine clearance process in Panjakent District of Sughd Province, Tajikistan, which borders Samarkand Province, Uzbekistan, according to Ulugkhojayev.
"The mine clearance process is in progress," he said in Dushanbe Saturday (October 6), according to CA-News.org. "The joint group of the governments of the two countries, which includes representatives of the Tajik Border Troops of Tajikistan, Defence Ministry and National Mine Centre studied the map of the mined border areas provided by Tashkent."
Uzbekistan mined the mountainous areas of the border in 2000 to deter Islamist militants from entering Uzbekistan. Some 9.5 sq. km of the border zone is mined, according to unofficial data.
During his visit to Dushanbe in March, Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev and his Tajik counterpart, Emomali Rahmon, agreed to complete the mine clearance by 2019.