DUSHANBE, July 3, Asia-Plus — On June 29, 2007, the US Embassy in Dushanbe concluded a two-week training course during which American instructors from the Virginia National Guard and professionals from the Tajik Committee for Emergency Situations and the Ministry of Defense exchanged information and expertise on how to respond to emergency situations that might involve Weapons of Mass Destruction. 

According to the US Embassy in Dushanbe, this training program provided participants with the capability to respond to emergencies involving hazardous materials, and will assist the Committee for Emergency Situations and Ministry of Defense to establish a dedicated and fully equipped first responder team.  Following the establishment of this team, the U.S. Embassy’s Export Control and Border Security section, through its Chemical, Biological and Radiological Response program, will provide a laptop computer with mapping software, as well as detection meters, self-contained breathing apparatus, air compressors, tool kits and other detection equipment to the Tajik first responders.  Under the same program some special testing equipment was provided to the Chemical, Biological and Radiological Laboratory of the Committee on Emergency Situations and Civil Defense in December 2006.  All of this equipment, valued at over $600,000, will be provided at the conclusion of the training.

The US Ambassador to Tajikistan, Tracey Ann Jacobson, spoke at the graduation ceremony for the officials who participated in this training where she stated, “Developing the skills to respond to any chemical, biological or radiological incident is vitally important national capability.  This specialized training will help the government of Tajikistan protect its citizens against a number of terrible threats.”

Previous WMD-related trainings between the Government of Tajikistan and United States include a WMD Awareness Seminar and WMD Mass Casualty Emergency Medical Intervention course, and Anti-Terrorism Assistance Programs conducted in 2005 and 2007.  These operations and the equipment should provide the Tajik Government with the framework to further develop its WMD response capabilities.