Over 16,000 anti-personnel mines reportedly destroyed in Tajikistan since 2009
Tajikistan has presented results of work on humanitarian demining and destruction of surplus of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) and Stockpiles of Conventional Ammunition (SCA), according to the Tajik MFA information department.
A regular plenary meeting of the OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation (FSC) took place in Vienna on June 19. Chaired by Tajikistan, the meeting was reportedly dedicated to the OSCE projects in Central Asia on management of SALW / SCA Projects.
The Chairmanship has invited the Director of the Department of the Engineering Corps, General Staff of Armed Forces of Tajikistan, Major-General Sayorabek Bachabekzoda, as a keynote speaker. He made presentation on the implemented projects in Tajikistan in destruction of surplus of SALW and SCA and their physical protection, as well as in the sphere of humanitarian demining.
A senior representative of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Tajikistan has reportedly made a comprehensive presentation about the experience of cooperation between the military structures of Tajikistan and the OSCE and other partners, which for the first time took shape in successful implementation of the Program of the Small Arms and Light Weapons and Conventional Ammunition Management in the Republic of Tajikistan (2004-2009). It was noted that within the Program framework 26,000 surplus pieces of SALW and 30 tons of surplus of conventional ammunition were destroyed; 9 new arms depot and 60 arms rooms for SALW and SCA were built and renovated.
According to Mr. Bachabekzoda Tajikistan is currently cooperating with the OSCE on launching an electronic control system of stockpiles of light weapons and ammunition in the Ministry of Defense.
Commending the OSCE's contribution to the implementation of the National Program on the Humanitarian Demining in Tajikistan, the general noted that since 2009 this process has led to the creation of the Humanitarian Demining Сompany, which operates under the Ministry of Defense of Tajikistan. Up today the Company has cleared more than 3 km2 of territory, has found and destroyed more than 16,000 anti-personnel mines and more than 3,000 other explosive items.
In this regard Mr. Bachabekzoda has noted that the Strategic Plan for Humanitarian Demining is currently being implemented in the country with the view of enhancement of works in this area.
Recall, the mine-strewn areas in Tajikistan are a legacy of the country’s disastrous civil war in the 1990s. Most land mines were laid in the country during the devastating five-year civil war, which ended in 1997. Additional mines were laid along the Tajik-Uzbek border by the Uzbek authorities in the late 1990s. The action was reportedly taken to stave off incursions by the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), listed by the US State Department as a terrorist organization.
In 1999, Tajikistan joined the Ottawa Convention on the Prohibition of the Use of Anti-Personnel Mines and pledged to ban the planting and stockpiling of such explosive devices on its territory.