New Tajik border liaison office on Uzbek border to help fight trafficking

By Caravanserai


US, UN and Tajik officials May 18 sign documents on the handover of a Border Liaison Office in Tursunzoda to Tajik authorities. The location of the photo was not stated. [US Embassy in Tajikistan]

DUSHANBE -- A new Border Liaison Office (BLO) will help Tajik and Uzbek authorities combat human and drug trafficking and other smuggling, according to a US embassy statement on Thursday (May 20).

Officials from the US embassy in Dushanbe, in partnership with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, held a ribbon-cutting and handover ceremony Tuesday in the Tajik capital.

The ceremony commemorated the completion of a Border Liaison Office (BLO) in Tursunzoda on the Tajik-Uzbek border. It is Tajikistan's second BLO funded by the US government.

The other Tajik BLO operates on the Panj River, which forms part of the boundary between Tajikistan and Afghanistan.

The new BLO will help Tajik law enforcement and customs personnel share intelligence with their Uzbek colleagues as they battle various forms of smuggling. Its sister BLO in Kudukli, Uzbekistan, opened Tuesday as well.

The Tursunzoda and Kudukli facilities are the first railway BLOs in Central Asia.

Multi-agency co-operation

The Tajik Border Guards Service, Interior Ministry (MVD), Drug Control Agency (AKN) and Customs Committee will work together in the two Tajik BLOs.

US support for Tajik border security remains strong, said Sita Farrell, director of the US embassy's International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs Office (INL), at the ceremony.

"We continue to support Tajikistan's efforts to combat threats to security and sovereignty," she added.

INL continues to fund border security projects across Tajikistan. They include a new Border Guard Detachment Headquarters at Ayvoj and the Chaldovar Border Outpost.

Since 2002, the United States has contributed more than $300 million in security-sector assistance to Tajikistan.

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