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Country Reports
TAJIKISTAN, Landmine Monitor Report 2000
LM Report 2000 Full Report   Executive Summary   Key Findings   Key Developments   Translated Country Reports


Key developments since March 1999: Tajikistan acceded to the Mine Ban Treaty on 12 October 1999. The treaty entered into force for Tajikistan on 1 April 2000. A Russian official has said Tajikistan is possibly reviewing its decision to join the treaty.


Five years of civil war in Tajikistan were formally brought to a close on 27 June 1997, when a peace accord was signed between the government and the opposition, the United Tajik Opposition (UTO), though fighting erupted again in 1998. Landmines were used throughout the fighting. In 1999, progress toward peace led to the UTO officially declaring that it would disband its armed units.[1] In May 2000, it was reported that the United Nations would likely be announcing the end of its peacekeeping mission in the country.[2]

Mine Ban Policy

Tajikistan had not shown particular interest in banning antipersonnel mines. While it attended the early Mine Ban Treaty preparatory meetings, it did not participate in the Oslo negotiations, and was one of eighteen countries which abstained from voting for the 1997 UN General Assembly resolution supporting the treaty. Tajikistan was absent from the vote on the pro-treaty 1998 UNGA resolution. Tajikistan did not participate as an observer in the First Meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty in Mozambique in May 1999. It has not attended any of the treaty intersessional meetings in Geneva.

But, on 12 October 1999, Tajikistan acceded to the Mine Ban Treaty. The treaty entered into force for Tajikistan on 1 April 2000. Tajikistan voted for the December 1999 UNGA resolution in support of the Mine Ban Treaty.

Tajikistan also acceded to the Convention on Conventional Weapons and its Amended Landmine Protocol on 12 October 1999. It did not attend the First Conference of States Parties to the Amended Protocol II in December 1999. Tajikistan is not a member of the Conference on Disarmament.

A senior Russian diplomat has told Landmine Monitor that at the January 2000 summit of the CIS states, Tajikistan indicated a possible review of its decision to join the Mine Ban Treaty, due to an evaluation of the consequences of clearing minefields from the Tajik-Afghan border. Tajikistan has communicated the same thing in correspondence with the Russian Foreign Ministry.[3]

Production, Transfer, Stockpiling

Tajikistan is not believed to have produced antipersonnel mines. Tajikistan reportedly did have some industrial facilities that had the capability of producing landmines and their components, but it appears all military production facilities have been shut down.[4]

Tajikistan inherited a stockpile of antipersonnel mines that the Soviet Union stored in the republic. According to a Russian official there is no evidence that Tajikistan imported any other mines to add to the stockpile.[5] Tajikistan is not known to have exported AP mines. In early 1999, a member of the opposition forces in Afghanistan said that Tajikistan was their main supply route for acquiring new mines.[6]

Information on the size and composition of Tajikistan’s current stockpile of antipersonnel mines is not available. Most of the mines laid by the government were of Soviet origin. It is unknown if the UTO received its supply of mines from outside sources or if they were obtained from Tajikistan’s stockpiles. In March 2000, Tajik governmental forces discovered and seized in Adjent a hidden weapons cache with ammunition and more than 3,000 landmines.[7]


Both the government and the UTO opposition were responsible for laying mines. According to the UN military observer team (UNMOT) in Tajikistan, the Tajik government used primarily Soviet PMN, PMN-2, PMD-6 and OZM antipersonnel mines. The UTO used a mix of antipersonnel and antitank mines (Italian TC-6, Pakistan P2Mk2 and Soviet PMN series), as well as booby-traps.[8] Several CIS countries sent peacekeeping forces to Tajikistan, including Russia’s Border Forces. The RBF planted antipersonnel mines along the Tajik/Afghan border.[9]

Landmine Problem

Tajikistan has a serious problem with antipersonnel landmines. In 1998 the U.S. State Department estimated that there are approximately 100,000 landmines in Tajikistan,[10] and the UN Mine Action Service estimated the total at 200,000.[11] The United Nations carried out assessment missions in Tajikistan in 1996 and 1997. The 1997 mission concluded that the landmine problem in Tajikistan was not as severe as originally thought, and recommended moving ahead with a mine action plan and mine action center, but on a reduced scale. [12]

The major areas affected by landmines are the central Tavildara region, the Garm Valley, Khalaikhum, and the border with Afghanistan. Currently the most problematic areas in terms of landmines are Pyangi, where a number of mine incidents with border servicemen and children have been recently reported[13] and Moskovsky district where during the active phase of the conflict the number of refugees and displaced people reached one million.[14] The mined areas are not generally well marked. (See also LM Report 1999, pp. 816-817.)

Mine Action

There are no humanitarian mine clearance programs underway in Tajikistan. The 1996 UN assessment mission estimated that it would cost $736,425 to demine areas where civilians and UN and aid workers were at risk.[15]

The Tajik governmental forces take steps to demine territories that they deem no longer necessary to be protected with landmines. Russian peacekeepers in Tajikistan have found and destroyed more than 21,000 landmines and UXOs.[16]

In July of 1999, U.S. military representatives met with Tajik government officials to explore ways in which the United States might help the country. The U.S. proposed that it provide experts to assist with mine clearance in the eastern regions of the country where the fighting had taken place.[17]

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has implemented mine awareness programs. The ICRC set up a data collection system to try to gather more detailed information about the whereabouts of landmines, and printed leaflets in Russian and Tajik, which alerted people returning to their homes about the possible presence of landmines.[18]

Landmine Casualties and Victim Assistance

Civilians and military personnel have been killed and injured by landmines, though it is very difficult to get information regarding casualties. The remote geography and poor medical facilities mean that it is likely that most mine casualties go unreported. From 1992 through July 1997 only twenty mine incidents were reported to the ICRC. The number of victims has been recently increased up to 20 mine victims annually.


[1] UN Security Council Resolution, S/RES/1274, 12 November 1999.
[2] Review of printed media of Tajikistan, at http://www.soros.org/tajik/sigest4.7html. Site visited 16 June 2000.
[3] Interview with Andrei Malov, Senior Counselor, Department of International Security, Disarmament and Arms Control, Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 4 May 2000.
[4] Analytical Note by Andrei Malov, Senior Counselor, Department of International Security, Disarmament and Arms Control, Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 13 May 2000.
[5] Ibid.
[6] 1999 interview with Deputy Military Attache, Embasssy of Afghanistan, Dushanbe, Tajikistan (information contained in fax received 4 January 1999).
[7] Interview with Imed Barakhanov, General Director of the “Asia Plus” Information Agency (based in Dushanbe, Tajikistan), in Bishek, Kyrgyzstan, 16 March 2000.
[8] Country Report: Tajikistan, United Nations, available at: http://www.un.org/Depts/Landmine/country/tajikist.htm.
[9] Ibid. See also, L. Medlev and L. Gavaza “Sappers Are Needed By All Power-Enforcement Ministries,” Armeysky Sbornik (magazine), Issue No. 1, 1999; Statement of A.V. Nizhalovsky Deputy Chief Commander of Engineer Forces, at the Moscow Landmine Conference “New Steps To A Mine-Free Future,” 28 May 1998; and Landmines: Outlook from Russia, IPPNW-Russia interim report, 1999. Shortly after an assault on a border post against Russian units of the MoD and the Federal Border Service, taking part in limited peacekeeping operations for Tajikistan, mines were deployed to protect strategic sites and facilities, parts of the Tajik-Afghan border, military depots and to block and isolate rebel forces and cut off possible routes through the border area. OAM-72, PMN-2 and PFM-1S mines were used.
[10] U.S. Department of State, Hidden Killers, (Washington, D.C., September 1998), p. A2.
[11] UNMAS Working Document: Mine Action Profiles, 15 November 1998.
[12] United Nations Department of Humanitarian Affairs Interoffice Memorandum, on the Concept for Mine Action in Tajikistan, 10 October 1997.
[13] Interview with Imed Barakhanov, General Director of the “Asia Plus” Information Agency, 16 March 2000.
[14] Interview with Nuraly Davlatov, journalist and historian, Bishek, Kyrgyzstan, 16 March 2000.
[15] United Nations, Demining Programme Report: Tajikistan, available at: http://www.un.org/Depts/Landmine/program/tajikist.htm.
[16] Landmines: Outlook from Russia, IPPNW-Russia interim report, 1999.
[17] “US Offers Assistance in Clearing Tajik Mines,” First Channel Network, Tajik Television, Dushanbe, Tajikistan, 23 July 1999.
[18] International Committee of the Red Cross, Annual Report 1997.