New Border Liaison Office was opened on "Nijniy Pyanj" Border Crossing Point at the Tajik-Afghan border

Well-developed infrastructure, modern equipment, trained staff - this is "Nijniy Pyanj" border crossing point on the Tajik-Afghan border. As we approached the site, three young Afghan men were passing the Tajik border. Gradually Tajik part of the border filled up with diplomatic cars: guests and visitors gathered to take part in the opening ceremony of a new Border Liaison Office.

This is the first Border Liaison Office established at Tajik-Afghan border in the framework of the UNODC project "Countering the trafficking of Afghan opiates via the northern route by enhancing the capacity of key border crossings points (BCPs) through the establishment of Border Liaison Offices (BLOs)".  The other four border posts have been established and made operational along the Uzbek - Tajik border which is seen as a key response to achieve cross-border communication and coordination.

- We consider drug trafficking as a serious threat equal to terrorism which requires a strong response, - said Mr. Radjab Makhmadaliev, Deputy Commander of Border Guard Forces under the State Committee on National Security of the Republic of Tajikistan in his opening speech. - We are pleased that our colleagues from Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan were also able to take part in the ceremony today. Let me express my sincere our gratitude to the Government of Japan for the excellent infrastructure created by them at "Nijniy Pyanj" Border Crossing point.

Law enforcement representatives from Central Asian countries, Ms.Ashita Mittal, UNODC Regional Representative for Central Asia, H.E. Mr. Takashi Kamada, Ambassador of Japan to Tajikistan, Mr. Kiyoshi Ishii, JICA Resident Representative in Tajikistan, Mr. Radjab Makhmadaliev, Deputy Commander, General Department of Border Guard Forces, the State Committee on National Security of the Republic of Tajikistan, participants of the Project Steering Committee from Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan  and other officials took part in the event.

During the opening ceremony Mr. Kamada, Ambassador of Japan  to Tajikistan, said that the "Government of Japan recognizes the particular importance of the stability in this region.  Central Asian countries that border Afghanistan are playing an increasingly important role more than ever before in bringing stability to the region as well as in the prevention of drug-trafficking.  One of our goals is to contribute to the stability of this region by working together with the governments and international organizations in the region".

Starting from 2009 United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime implements the project aimed  at countering drugs and transnational organized crime and building trust between the countries of the region by enhancing the capacity of law enforcement officers by training  of staff working in the border areas, improving infrastructure of the selected Border Crossing Points (BCPs), providing specialized equipment, and facilitating  legal ground for inter-agency cooperation at the selected Border Crossing Points.

- There are several BLOs in Afghanistan. We found this mechanism very useful for better cooperation among counterparts through exchange of respective information as well as face to face meetings. I would say that the role of Border Liaison Offices in interagency and cross border cooperation is crucial, - said Fazelbari Fazlee, representative of Investigation Department  of the  Afghanistan Border Police.

Main donors for this project are: Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) which provided totally more than 2,660,000 US dollars, Norway - 1,440,000 US dollars  and INL (USA) - 446,000 US dollars for implementation in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.