DUSHANBE, December 17, 2011, Asia-Plus – Residents of the Tajik northern province of Sughd are seriously concerned over a large accumulation of Uzbek military hardware at the Uzbek-Tajik border.

A person, who wanted to remain unnamed, phoned Asia-Plus Friday evening and said that “Uzbek authorities has drawn up military hardware, mostly tanks, to the Tajik border on the Istaravshan direction.”  “Local residents are seriously concerned over the situation, especially against the backcloth of current relations with Uzbekistan,” he said.

A source in one of Tajik power-wielding structures has confirmed the information about the large accumulation of Uzbek military hardware – tanks and artillery – at the border with Tajikistan.  “The military hardware was drew up to the border about a month ago after a skirmish between Tajik and Uzbek border guards on the Istaravshan stretch of Tajikistan’s common border with Afghanistan, when an Uzbek border guard was killed in exchange of fire,” the source added.

The Main Border Guard Directorate within the State Committee for National Security (SCNS) has confirmed this information.  They, however, said that no state of alert was declared and Tajik border troops are currently conducting service in a routine regime.

We will recall that Khoushnoud Rahmatulloyev, a spokesman for the SCNS Main Border Guard Directorate, noted on November 15 that Tajik border guards killed one Uzbek border guard in Sughd province on November 13.  According to him, the Uzbek border guards illegally crossed into Tajik territory to protect a group of smugglers, who were trying to bring home electrical appliances into Uzbekistan.

“Despite numerous warnings both in Uzbek and Russian, the Uzbek border guards crossed into Tajik territory near the frontier post “Hashtiyak,” the border unit “Istaravshan.”  They were trying to protect smugglers,” Rahmatulloyev said, noting that the Tajik border guards opened fire in accordance with relevant regulations, killing one Uzbek border guard.

He said a meeting of border representatives with participation of representatives of military prosecutor’s offices of both countries was held on November 14 to investigate the incident.  “After thorough examination of the scene of the incident, the commission members came to a conclusion that there was the smuggling of home electrical appliance in this case,” said Rahmatulloyev, “Uzbek women named Nasiba was organizer of the smuggling.  The persons involved in the smuggling were detained, an investigation is under way.”

The Tajik border service spokesman added that allegations by Uzbek counterparts that Tajik border guards were involved in drug trafficking were absolutely baseless.

Meanwhile, the news agency, REGNUM, reported on November 14 that Uzbekistan has accused Tajik border guards of being involved in drug trafficking and armed attack on Uzbek border guards.

According to Uzbekistan’s National Security Service, Uzbek border guards allegedly warded off an attempt of smuggling a large amount of narcotics via Tajik-Uzbek border near the Uzbek city of Bekabad on November 13 at 9:20 pm.  Tajik border guards allegedly opened fire while Uzbek border guards were attempting to detain a group of smugglers.  As a result, one Uzbek border guard was killed.  A large consignment of drugs, including more than 3.8 kilograms of heroin amount, was allegedly found on the spot.