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Tajikistan - US Relations

Diplomatic relations between the Republic of Tajikistan and the United States of America were established on February 14, 1992. The Embassy of the United States in Dushanbe was opened in March 1992. The Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the U.S. to the Republic of Tajikistan is Mr. Kenneth E.Gross (since October 2, 2009). The Republic of Tajikistan opened its Embassy in Washington in December 2002.

The Tajik government in Dushanbe is interested in additional revenues for its scanty budget - in the form of plentiful American dollars. Tajikistan is willing to take full advantage of its key geostrategic location in Central Asia. Moreover, Tajikistan fully approves of everything the Americans are doing in Afghanistan. The American presence there reduces the danger of terrorism from the south, allowing Tajikistan to get on with fortifying the Tajik-Afghan border. So Dushanbe's readiness to respond to Washington's requests has more to do with simply wanting to make money, rather than adopting a multi-directional foreign policy course. Tajikistan hasn't found any other money-making opportunities so far.

US interests in Tajikistan are a stable state on Afghanistan's northern border, support for our military efforts in Afghanistan, and for Tajikistan to be a stabilizing influence and contributor to economic development in the region. Tajikistan gave unrestricted over flight rights, and quickly agreed to NDN ground transit. In the medium term, it could play a more active role in regional development, because of its huge hydropower potential, relative (to Afghanistan) stability, and religiously moderate population. But to do so Tajikistan must overcome multiple political and economic problems which stymie its own development: poverty, bad relations with Uzbekistan, intense corruption, Soviet-era economic structures and planning, an undemocratic political system, chronic food insecurity, and dependence on migrant labor in Russia.

U.S. assistance has shown mixed results in the development sphere. Steps to improve the business climate have been offset by the government's campaign to force its citizens to contribute to the construction of the Roghun hydroelectric dam. The government is not willing to reform its political process. U.S. security cooperation shows some promise. Regardless of U.S. efforts, there is a limit to what Tajikistan can offer: it produces very little, is poor, and its government has minimal capacity. The Tajiks have some unrealistic ideas about what the U.S. can offer them -- mainly large infrastructure projects including questionable power plants, tunnels to Pakistan, and bridges to nowhere. There is some truth to the quip that Tajikistan's real contribution to U.S. efforts in Afghanistan is to be stable, and to allow unfettered over flight and transit to our forces - which the Tajiks have done unfailingly.

Events of September 11, 2001 and beginning of antiterrorist operation in Afghanistan marked a stage in development of bilateral cooperation between the Republic of Tajikistan and the United States of America. With Russia’s approval, Tajikistan offered the United States use of air bases in the anti-Taliban campaign in Afghanistan in 2001–2. In the early 2000s, Tajikistan has sought closer economic ties with the United States, and U.S. military and humanitarian aid increased significantly. Fromthe U.S. perspective, Tajikistan became more important as a base in Central Asia when neighboring Uzbekistan rejected reforms and cooperation with the United States in 2005; criticism of Rakhmonov’s one-sided re-election in 2006 was muted.

Today the Tajik-American relations are effectively developing in the following fields: trade and economic, humanitarian, security, military-political, fighting against the international terrorism, culture and education, public health services and etc. Intensification of bilateral contacts is evidence of US interest in further strengthening of cooperation between countries. Other important event which demonstrated strengthening relations between the Republic of Tajikistan and the USA was the opening of a new U.S. Embassy compound in Dushanbe on June 28, 2006 with participation of the President of Tajikistan.

The United States remains committed to assisting Tajikistan in its economic and political development, as Tajikistan continues to recover from its civil war legacy. U.S. assistance efforts are evolving away from humanitarian aid and political reconciliation, as those needs increasingly have been met. Instead, U.S. efforts are targeted toward broader goals of democratic, social sector, and economic reform.

U.S.-Tajik relations have developed considerably since September 11, 2001. The two countries now have a broad-based relationship, cooperating in such areas as counter-narcotics, counterterrorism, non-proliferation, and regional growth and stability. In light of the Russian border forces' withdrawal from the Tajik-Afghan border, the U.S. Government leads an international donor effort to enhance Tajikistan's territorial integrity; prevent the transit of narcotics and material or technology related to weapons of mass destruction (WMD); and support a stable, peaceful Tajikistan in order to prevent the spread of influence and activities of radical groups and terrorists. In February 2010, the U.S. and Tajikistan launched an annual bilateral consultation process to enhance cooperation on a broad range of policy and assistance issues.

The U.S. continues to assist Tajikistan on economic reforms and integration into the broader global marketplace, for example in pursuing World Trade Organization (WTO) accession. U.S. assistance also supports health and education, as well as democracy, media, and local governance. Tajikistan has been a strong supporter of U.S. efforts on counterterrorism and in promoting peace and stability in Afghanistan. The U.S. Export-Import Bank and JP Morgan guaranteed and funded a $182 million purchase of Boeing 737-900ER airliners for the private Tajik airline company “Somon Air.”

The U.S. continues providing technical assistance in the various areas of cooperation. Within the framework of the Program of the export control and protection of borders which is the joint program of Customs service of the USA and the US Department of State, Committee on Protection of State border and Ministry of State Revenues and Taxes of Tajikistan received 35 vehicles.

Annually under the program of Military Cooperation more than 100 Tajik militaries receive advanced knowledge, participating in trainings and arrangements planned by the Central Command of the USA. The US Government in 2005 continued its support within the framework of the program of export control and protection of borders. The US Government provided $16.5 million from the additional budget of 2005 for protection of border to the Tajik border guards to support Tajikistan in struggle against drugs trafficking and improvement of protection of border.

With aim of support to anti-terrorist operation in Afghanistan Tajikistan undertakes following steps: provides air spaces on carrying out of humanitarian and rescue operation in Afghanistan and ground structure for dislocation of military air force unit of the anti-terrorist coalition headed by the United States of America; revealing and not permitting usage of bank accounts and property by the international terrorist organizations in the territory of Tajikistan; exchange of useful information and others. Today Tajikistan actively participates in the second stage of operation, namely, the program of restoration of Afghanistan. Concrete step on rendering such help became construction of five bridges connecting Tajikistan and Afghanistan on frontier sites. The first bridge connecting Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region of Tajikistan and province of Badakhshan of Afghanistan is already entered into operation in November, 2002.

The important event on bilateral relations between the Republic of Tajikistan and the United States of America was the opening of bridge on August 26, 2007 in the Pyanj River joining the Tajikistan with Afghanistan which was constructed by financial support of USA. The official opening ceremony took place with the participation of presidents of Tajikistan and Afghanistan as well as the US Secretary of Commerce, Carlos M. Gutierrez. The U.S. Government-funded $36 million bridge over the Amu Darya River connecting Sher Khan, Afghanistan with Nizhniy Pyanzh, Tajikistan opened for commercial traffic in October 2007 and about 200 trucks cross daily. Since the opening, trade volume has more than tripled. The bridge and related customs facilities will continue to enhance economic and commercial opportunities on both sides of the river, allowing goods and people to move across more easily. On the Afghan side, the bridge road will connect to the Afghan Ring Road.

On July 26-27, 2005 the U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld visited Tajikistan. During his visit he has met with the President of ?ajikistan E.Rahmon and other officials. During his meetings issues of establishment of peace and stability in Afghanistan, struggle against terrorism, drug trafficking and proliferation of arms which are today in the interests of both sides were discussed. On January 22, 2008 U.S. Central Commander William Fallon visited Dushanbe. During his visit W. Fallon met with the President of Tajikistan. During the meeting the prospects of bilateral cooperation, as well as the potential development of the Central-Asia region and the situation in Afghanistan have been discussed.

Cooperation in the field of education and health care is developing. In June, 1996 in Washington the Cooperation Agreement between Ministry of Education of Tajikistan and the American Councils for International Education (ACCELS) is signed. Within the framework of this scientific-educational cooperation exchanges are carried out. Annually many scholars and students can study in the United States.

Starting from 2001 through HOPE project Tajikistan’s medical system received medicines, medical instrument and equipment for the sum of 196 million US dollars. The Republic of Tajikistan and the United States are also cooperating in the context of Framework Agreement between the governments of the U.S. and Central Asian countries concerning the development of trade and investment relations, which signed on June 1, 2004 in Washington.

On 17-18 June, 2008 fourth annual meeting of the Council of the U.S. - Central Asia Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) took place in Dushanbe. Delegation from Afghanistan joined as an observer at the meeting. The participants of the meeting considered the condition of economic cooperation on investment and trade in Central-Asian region, as well as between region and USA.

On May 5, 2009 in Dushanbe Amendment to the existing Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan and the Government of the United States of America on Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement from January 2003 and Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan and the Government of the United States of America on cooperation in the sphere of reform of local self-governance bodies have been signed. According to those documents providing additional funds in the framework of noted Agreement was planned.

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Page last modified: 05-03-2013 19:05:55 ZULU