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Cablegate: Tajik Border Posts Still Suffer From Last Year's Flooding

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 DUSHANBE 001758

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR SCA/CEN, INL
PLEASE PASS TO DOJ

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL EAID SNAR AF TI
SUBJECT: TAJIK BORDER POSTS STILL SUFFER FROM LAST YEAR'S FLOODING
AND LACK OF SUPPLIES AND EQUIPMENT

DUSHANBE 00001758 001.2 OF 002


1. (SBU) Embassy Officers visited four border posts in the
Moscovsky region bordering Afghanistan and saw how last year's
severe flooding destroyed the units' buildings, seriously
hindering the border guards' ability to protect the Tajik border
from illicit activity. In addition to flood damage and years
of wear and tear, the departing Russian border troops stripped
the posts of critical equipment and supplies. In the winter, as
in many rural areas of Tajikistan, electricity is scarce, only
available one to two hours per day. Generators at the border
posts are nothing more than Soviet-style hunks of metal, too
inefficient to run given the price of fuel. Minefields
installed by Russian troops remain active and pose a real threat
to unsuspecting visitors and civilians. EmbOffs, guided by
Colonel Kamolov, the State Border Protection Committee engineer
responsible for designing architectural plans for construction
of new buildings, surveyed the border posts. Post will
recommend that outposts number 8 and 7 described below receive
priority consideration for renovation/reconstruction using
existing INL funding. The rest should be funded using DoD
Counter-narcotics FY06 supplemental funding.

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RIBHOZ, FISHFARM, #8

2. (SBU) In early 2005, floods from the Pyanj River ripped
through the outpost and split it into two, destroying training
facilities. The water left a bed of rocks about 500 yards wide
in the middle of the post. The post evacuated staff and moved
ammunition, but have since returned to the same location.
Border guards report that Afghans crossed the border and
periodically looted the facilities after the 2005 flood up until
July 2006. Ribhoz currently has no functioning communications
system, however, through U.S. government funding, Post will be
installing Harris radio communications system at the outpost.

3. (U) The Pyanj is known to flood frequently and each year
the river's destruction takes its toll in property and lives.
The Asian Development Bank is working with the government on an
embankment reinforcement project in Moscovsky to prevent future
flooding, but work is not yet complete.

4. (SBU) The State Border Protection Committee intends to move
the post's location one to two kilometers further away from the
river. Ribhoz is the name of border post number 8 in Moscovsky
District, so named because of the area's former abundance of
fish farms. Fish farming used to be profitable, but the
supplies have since depleted and many large dried-out man-made
lakes remain. It is in one of these lakes that the State Border
Protection Committee intends to relocate the border post site.

SAYOD, HUNTER, #7

5. (SBU) The effects of the Pyanj floods is most striking at
Sayod, number 7 of the Moscovsky posts. Little remains of the
post, established at least twenty years ago. Prior to the
flooding, Sayod had 12 buildings, now there are only four. The
floods cause land erosion, which claimed 8 of the buildings,
including warehouses and offices. Although the water flow has
been diverted, land continues to erode away and threatens what's
left of Sayod's property. The State Border Protection Committee
wants to build a new post on nearby higher ground with a better
view of the Afghan border and safe from the Pyanj.

6. (SBU) Sayod has a minimal communications system comprised
of only Motorola radios. The post's commander reported the
soldiers received Halal meals from U.S. assistance, but that
many fell ill after eating what they commonly believe to be
expired MREs. He claimed a doctor lab-tested them and deemed

DUSHANBE 00001758 002.2 OF 002


them unacceptable to eat. (Note: The border guards do not have
a qualified lab technician to conduct tests and provided no
evidence supporting their finding. Post is working to train and
set up a proper forensics lab in Tajikistan.)

JAIROLI, PORCUPINE, #6 AND MUHOJOROBAD, LAND OF REFUGEES, #5

7. (SBU) The Jairoli #6 post and Muhojorobad #5 post face
problems common to border posts throughout Tajikistan. Each
post houses approximately 50 soldiers, but their dilapidated
buildings and poor facilities make living conditions difficult.
Jairoli is at least 25 years old and Muhojorobad's construction
dates to the 1940s or 1950s. Both Jairoli and Muhojorobad could
benefit from a water well and water pump. Tajikistan's rural
water supply system has deteriorated since the Soviet times.
Currently, Jairoli gets its water supply through a rudimentary
pipe and water wheel operating on a stream that runs through the
post's compound.

8. (SBU) Both posts need significant renovation. Areas of
importance include establishing bathroom and shower facilities,
constructing new roofs, renovating warehouses and repairing
crumbling internal walls. Both posts currently have Motorola
radios and also utilize an old ineffective cable telephone line.
Building officers' quarters would boost morale at the posts.
Currently officers live and work in their offices. With
officers' quarters they could bring their families to live with
them at post. That way, they would be able to remain on site
longer throughout the year.

9. (SBU) State Border Protection Committee guides told EmbOffs
Jairoli and Muhojorobad also received Halal meals, but we did
not see any uniforms, boots, sleeping bags or other U.S.
assistance.

10. (SBU) COMMENT: Post will reexamine and increase end-use
monitoring of border guard assistance and devise an improved
plan to directly provide INL assistance to the border posts
instead of routing it through the central government where
bureaucracy and corruption can delay essential assistance.
Post's Senior Law Enforcement Advisor has visited the site for
follow-on assessments and will bring direct assistance during
future site visits instead of relying on the State Border
Protection Committee which has responded slowly to needs. In
addition, post will consider providing food assistance in the
forms of staples locally purchased instead of U.S. military
Halal meals which Tajik soldiers do not favor.

11. (SBU) The devastation caused by flooding at the posts on
the Afghan border shows the destructive potential of the river.
In addition, the country's inadequate water delivery system is
extremely evident at these border outposts. Water issues have a
tremendous effect on the environment, health and economy. Here
in Tajikistan, we also see the important role that water plays
in security issues. The border posts need to be repaired or
relocated with potential flooding hazards in mind if Tajikistan
wants to continue to be successful in protecting its borders.

END COMMENT.
JACOBSON

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