US equipment bolsters Tajik efforts against smuggling of nuclear material

By Caravanserai


US Ambassador John Mark Pommersheim (second left) and a Tajik State National Security Committee (GKNB) official take part in an equipment handover ceremony in Dushanbe December 6. [US Embassy in Tajikistan]

DUSHANBE -- The United States Monday (December 6) donated security support and radiation detection equipment to Tajikistan to help combat the smuggling of nuclear and radioactive material into and within the country.

US Ambassador John Mark Pommersheim and a Tajik State National Security Committee (GKNB) official took part in an equipment handover ceremony at the Regional Training Centre of Tajikistan's Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) Safety and Security Agency in Dushanbe, the US embassy in Tajikistan said in a statement.

The newly deployed equipment, worth more than $1 million (11.3 million TJS), includes portable and handheld detection systems, surveillance gear, vehicle inspection kits and a state-of-the-art mobile radiation detection unit, as well as associated training and maintenance support, that will complement the GKNB's counter-smuggling operations nationwide.

The equipment and associated trainings were provided by the US Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA).

In 2022, DOE/NNSA will conduct a joint training with the US Federal Bureau of Investigation to strengthen Tajik agencies' investigations of nuclear smuggling incidents.

"I am pleased to announce a new milestone in co-operation between our two nations in the area of international nuclear security," Pommersheim said.

"Today we are showcasing the first phase of assistance from [DOE/NNSA]. This is an important step in advancing US-Tajik security co-operation," he said.

"The United States and Tajikistan co-operate closely on counter-narcotics and counter-terrorism to secure the borders of Tajikistan, while facilitating the legitimate flow of people and goods."

"With this important new capability, we will further expand our collaboration to combat smuggling of nuclear and radioactive materials," Pommersheim said.

DOE/NNSA contributes a broad range of experience, expertise and tools to support partners in developing national comprehensive detection programmes to prevent and interdict illicit movement of nuclear and radioactive materials, according to the statement.

Since 2013, DOE/NNSA has invested more than $12 million (135.5 million TJS) in counter-nuclear-smuggling projects in Tajikistan, it added.

In addition to the new partnership with the GKNB, DOE/NNSA continues to co-operate with the Tajik State Customs Service, State Border Guards, Interior Ministry (MVD) and CBRN Safety and Security Agency to further develop Tajikistan's ability to combat the smuggling of nuclear and radioactive materials.

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