China to help Tajikistan protect Afghan border

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DUSHANBE (TCA) — Tajikistan says China plans to finance and build several outposts for Tajik border guards along the Tajik-Afghan border, RFE/RL’s Tajik Service reports.

A Tajik government decree published on September 26 said the move would bolster Tajik security.

The decree said the government instructed the State National Security Committee to sign an agreement with China to provide for the construction of 11 outposts of various sizes, as well as a training center for border guards.

The 1,345-kilometer Tajik-Afghan border is a major concern for Dushanbe, as Afghan drug smugglers regularly clash with Tajik border guards and Afghan Taliban militants increase their activities along the border.

China, which according to official statistics sells goods worth $2.5 billion a year to Tajikistan, built one outpost on the Tajik-Afghan border, its first one, earlier this year.

China is currently one of the largest investors in the economy of Tajikistan, reports Radio Ozodi (the Tajik service of Radio Liberty). Tajikistan’s debt to China has now exceeded US $1 billion, almost a half of the country’s foreign debt. Chinese loans are mainly used to improve infrastructure in Tajikistan, including building roads and tunnels. In addition, Beijing promised Dushanbe to provide more than $6 billion by 2018, with half of this amount to be used for the construction of 400-kilometer Tajik section of Line D of the natural gas pipeline Central Asia–China.      

Sergey Kwan

TCA