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Tajikistan, Turkmenistan Seek to Enhance Regional Security

By Nigar Bayramli April 7, 2024

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During his two-day visit to Dushanbe, former Turkmen president, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, who serves as the Chairman of the People's Council of the country, discussed regional security issues and bilateral relations with Tajik President Emomali Rahmon on April 4, 2024. / Press service of President of Republic of Tajikistan

Tajikistan and Turkmenistan seek to strengthen cooperation to support the fight against terrorism and boost security in the region.

Tajik President Emomali Rahmon and former Turkmen president Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, who serves as Chairman of the People's Council, discussed regional security issues and bilateral relations during Turkmen leader’s visit to Tajikistan.

The two leaders deliberated on strengthening cooperation between the relevant agencies of the two countries, including in the fight against terrorism and extremism, the Tajik president’s website reported on April 4.

During the meeting, they noted the importance of continuing regular political dialogue at all levels, and said active development of trade and economic relations for the benefit of both sides was important.

The parties also discussed the development and expansion of ties in oil and gas, chemistry and metallurgy, industry, agriculture, and transport.

Five documents were signed following negotiations between the Tajik president and the former Turkmen president, who arrived in Dushanbe for the official two-day visit on April 4.

The parties signed a cooperation program between the foreign ministries of the two countries for 2024-2025 and an agreement on cooperation between the Center for Advanced Training and Retraining of Diplomatic Service Employees of Tajikistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Institute of International Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan.

Other agreements were about construction, science, seismology and sister city relations between Khujand and Argadag.

Both countries face similar regional security challenges, including the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan in 2021, drug trafficking, and extremism threats by the Islamic State militant group. Tajikistan's citizens have shown unprecedented activity in jihadist groups in various countries over the past few years.

Experts believe that poverty, injustice, and brainwashing are the main reasons why young Tajiks are joining the Islamic State’s Khorasan Province (ISKP) branch, as the ISKP reportedly completed a "successful recruitment campaign" among Tajiks in and outside Afghanistan.

The two countries see potential for further collaboration in energy, transportation, agriculture, and have already established partnerships in rail and road transportation. In May 2023, the Turkmen and Tajik leaders discussed strengthening ties and enhancing trade during a high-level meeting.

On April 3, the head of the railway department of Turkmenistan, Azat Atamyradov and the Ambassador of Tajikistan in Ashgabat Vafo Niyatbekzoda discussed bilateral cooperation in the field of railway transport, in particular increasing the volume of freight traffic between the countries.

They emphasized that the international multimodal corridor CASCA+ along the route China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan-Turkmenistan-Azerbaijan-Georgia-Türkiye-Europe is rapidly developing, and the diplomat reported Tajikistan’s interest in joining this corridor.

The Turkmen side invited representatives of the railway industry of Tajikistan and participants of export-import companies to Ashgabat for detailed negotiations.