Surrounded by Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and China, Tajikistan shares more than 4000 km of borders with its neighbours, most of which is located in very rural and mountainous areas. With a complex relationship to some bordering nations, an unstable security situation in border regions of Afghanistan as well as problems with cross-border trafficking in persons and drug-smuggling, it is very important for Tajikistan to adequately manage its borders.
The IOM mission in Tajikistan started its activity in the area of Border Management in 2002 and has since then successfully administered a variety of projects. The main project partner of the projects is the Border Forces of Tajikistan (BFT) and initiatives have been supported by the government of the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Norway, and the European Union among others.
Graduation ceremony for newly examinated border guards outside the IOM built training centre for border guards in Dushanbe.
Mentioning some of the achievements made through the implementation of Border Management projects, the unit was behind a long due infrastructure improvement of the International Dushanbe Airport and the international border checkpoints located there. It also assisted the Tajik government with an upgrade of the visa system and the quality and design of travel documents. Further, IOM has been engaged in helping the BFT to strengthen the technical capacity of all the border checkpoints of the Tajik-Afghan state border through the provision of necessary new IT and document examination equipment.
Another focus for the unit are different types of initiatives carried out with the aim of facilitating a deepening of the collaboration between the border agencies of Afghanistan and Tajikistan. With the support of IOM, an important agreement on easing the mobility for Afghans living in border areas to access healthcare in Tajikistan has been signed as well as a new border guard Memorandum of Understanding and update of Standard Operating Procedures, which are significant steps forward in Tajik-Afghan border agency relations.
IOM Tajikistan has a long experience of assisting the BFT with their training of border guards. Border training centres currently used to train new border guards, located in Dushanbe, Khorog and Panj, have all been constructed by IOM, carefully planned to meet all specific needs including class rooms, IT-rooms, libraries and sleeping halls.
Starting from 2006, IOM started implementing projects related to the capacity building of Tajik males and females who have recently joined the BFT. Training curriculum on ‘Border and Immigration Control’ consisting of six manuals have been developed by IOM to be used during the three months long training courses of the new personnel of the BFT. In 2009, IOM launched a project of delivering joint trainings for Afghan and Tajik male personnel of the border structures of Tajikistan and Afghanistan, bearing in mind that an efficient management of the border can only be done through extensive hands-on cross-border cooperation out in the field. Since 2015, this type of cross-border trainings has also been held for Tajik and Afghan female border guards, creating an appreciated space for female border guard professionals to discuss common challenges they face and how to deal with them.
A group of 20 female border guards from Afghanistan and Tajikistan are participating in practical lessons as a part of a 10-day training course in Dushanbe on Border and Immigration Control.
A specialized training curriculum on “Humanitarian Border Management” has also been developed for Tajik Border Forces which were adopted into the national training support package for the border forces and is now widely used by them during national and international training operations. Currently, efforts are made to gender streamline the BFT as a whole which has entailed the development of another specialized training curriculum for the female border guards of Tajikistan and Afghanistan. The curriculum consists of gender related topics and the production of promotional material highlighting the important role women play in the border forces.