DUSHANBE, July 4, 2009, Asia-Plus  -- Another Tajik national has become victim of the Uzbek government’s unilateral decision to mine rural border areas between Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.

According to the Ministry of Interior (MoI), the tragedy took place near the mountain Mullosoy in the Farob jamoat, Sughd’s Panjakent district Thursday (July 2) evening.

“The 33-year-old local resident Muhsin Mirzoyev was killed in mine explosion while pasturing cattle in the area,” the source at a MoI said.

It is to be noted that most land mines in Tajikistan were laid during the devastating five-year civil war, which ended in 1997.  In many areas the mines still pose a deadly threat as well as a major impediment to effective land use.

Additional 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 the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU).  However, no one Uzbek militant has been blown up by these mines to this date, while casualties among the civilian Tajik population living in border areas have increased.  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.