Small arms and conventional ammunition
The 1992-97 civil war in Tajikistan left a lethal legacy - loads of small arms and light weapons (SALW), as well as conventional ammunition were stored in unsafe conditions throughout the country. In spite of a weapons collection programme and on-going seizures from criminals, surplus stocks posed a serious danger to the public and the environment.
In 2004, the Tajik Government asked the OSCE to help destroy SALW and conventional ammunition and improve the country's stockpile security and management systems. The OSCE responded with a comprehensive programme to destroy surpluses, upgrade storage conditions and reduce the chance of dangerous material falling into the wrong hands.
Together with the OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation, the Office launched a programme in August 2005 to destroy 34 tonnes of surplus ammunition and 26,000 pieces of small arms and light weapons. Nine national experts were trained in explosive ordnance disposal, and an explosive ordnance destruction facility and a SALW destruction facility were built. The Office also helped refurbish or build seven new storage sites to ensure safe and secure storage of SALW and ammunition. The programme was made possible through financial contributions from Finland, France, the Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia, Sweden, Tajikistan and the United States.
Following the successful completion of the programme's first phase in November 2006, the Tajik Government asked the OSCE to assist in developing the second phase, which focuses on addressing the problem regionally, including along the Tajik-Afghan border.
Phase two of the programme, launched in July 2006, assists in destroying surplus rocket boosters and in building 32 safe storage facilities throughout the country. A contribution by Andorra supplemented the original donations.
Confidence- and security-building measures
Following an official request for OSCE assistance in 2003, the Office assists the Government of Tajikistan in developing projects in the area of confidence- and security-building measures (CSBMs).
Since 2003, the Office has been implementing a project to connect the Ministry of Defence's Verification Centre to the modified OSCE Communications Network, which provides OSCE participating States with a direct channel for the exchange of information on military activities.
The Office promotes the implementation of OSCE commitments in the field of CSBMs, notably the Vienna Document 1999 and the OSCE Code of Conduct on Politico-Military Aspects of Security. It supports the participation of Tajik military officials in OSCE training and events related to military security.
Since 2003, at the request of the Tajik Government, the Office in Tajikistan has been assisting the country in addressing the humanitarian threat posed by landmines. Clearing landmines makes more land available for agriculture and reforestation and also helps to improve cross-border co-operation and monitoring.
The Office's Mine Action Programme - the first of its kind for the OSCE - is being implemented in two stages. The objective of the first stage, implemented through the Swiss Foundation for Mine Action (FSD), is to reduce the direct humanitarian threat of landmines. Since September 2004, the programme has cleared a total of 2.8 million square metres of mine-contaminated land, reclassified 42,5 million square metres of expected mined area and destroyed some 13,000 anti-personnel mines and unexploded ordnances.
The second phase of the programme, currently under way, supports the creation of a national humanitarian mine clearance capacity within the Ministry of Defense to tackle the mine threat in accordance with the Ottawa Treaty, which bans their use. The Office also encourages regional mine clearance dialogue and co-operation between Central Asian states that share common mined borders.
The Office, through donations by OSCE participating States, has created and supports the operation of a training centre for mine detector dogs. The dogs are used by de-mining teams in the Rasht Valley and the Panj, Tavildara and Vanj Districts in Central and southern Tajikistan.