Tajikistan–Uzbekistan border minefields
The Uzbekistan–Tajikistan border minefields are the result of Uzbekistan's unilateral decision to indiscriminately mine rural areas along its border region with Tajikistan. This action is aimed at hindering drug trafficking and cross-border infiltrations of terrorists of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, but the mines have caused many civilian casualties. Uzbekistan asserts that it is placing mines in its territory, but so far not all the boundaries between Uzbekistan and Tajikistan have been delineated. By 2004 Tajikistan and Uzbekistan had settled almost 86% of their 1,283-km border dispute following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
Opinions on the minefields
- International Committee of the Red Cross - The former head of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Tajikistan, George Gunz, said "Any government taking such steps must inform the population of mine locations and types of mines." He said that all international humanitarian norms were being violated so long as the mine locations were not marked, posing a constant threat to the lives of civilians living in border areas. Gunz said that such incidents would continue until governments agreed to sign the Ottawa Convention prohibiting the use of antipersonnel mines.
- Uzbekistan's defence minister, Qodyr Pulatov, has defended his country's actions: "All mines laid have been marked with special plates warning of danger," (an assertion Tajik authorities in Dushanbe dismiss after recent official missions to the area failed to locate any such notices).
- "Tajikistan: Victims of Uzbek land mines increasing". Integrated Regional Information Networks. May 7, 2001. Retrieved 2007-06-07.
- "Tajikistan: Focus on demining efforts". Integrated Regional Information Networks. July 13, 2004. Archived from the original on 2007-08-06. Retrieved 2007-06-07.