KHUJAND, April 1, 2009, Asia-Plus  -- A Tajik national was killed on March 30 as an antipersonnel mine exploded on the Tajik-Uzbek border in the northern Sughd province.

According to the Sughd police directorate, the incident took place in the Lakkon jamoat of the Isfara district at around 10:00 a.m.

“A 34-year-old resident of the Lakkon jamoat Jamshed Davronov, who was looking for his cattle, crossed into a mine hazard area although it was marked by special mine-hazard signs,” said the source, “He was seriously injured after a land mine along the Tajik-Uzbek border exploded and died on the way to hospital.”  The Isfara prosecutor’s office is investigating the incident.  

This incident, like many before it, highlights a serious problem for Tajik civilians living in border areas following the Uzbek government’s unilateral decision to mine rural border areas between the countries.

Mines were laid along the Tajik-Uzbek border by the authorities in Tashkent in the late 1990s.  The action was reportedly taken to stave off incursions by militants of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU). In the meantime, the civilians of the rural border areas suffer the most by Tashkent’s security initiative and most of the victims were women and children who were gathering firewood along the border as well as shepherds pasturing cattle in the areas.  Almost all who have survived, have become disabled for life.