Afghan-Tajik borderlands haunted by extremism & poverty
KABUL (Pajhwok): Districts straddling the Afghan-Tajik border are economically impoverished, environmentally insecure and isolated from the centre, according to a study.
The survey by Open Society Foundations and the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute says the border communities on both sides had limited opportunities for economic stability.
Earlier in the month, Russia and Tajikistan conducted joint military drills involving 50,000 troops and strategic bombersalong the frontier. The exercises highlighted the border’s insecure nature.
According to a Central Asian website,EurasiaNet.org, residents of the border areas are much more concerned at their isolation and poverty than military incursions.
Titled Strangers Across the Amu River: Community Perceptions Along the Tajik-Afghan Borders, the report surveyed nine border communities in the two countries.
It says borderlands are often viewed as a liability due to a possible spillover of insecurity and criminal elements, as well as the difficulties caused by a river that destroys farmlands.
“While extremism is in fact a worry of border communities, the hard security policies pursued by regional governments can actually exacerbate the situation,” the researchers found.
Stringent border controls on trade good constitute a double whammy for the communities: Create incentives for traffickers and disincentives for the free movement of people and goods in the region.
“Isolationist policies exacerbate the poor socio-economic situation of border populations and can lead to increasing tensions and competition over resources,” the study pointed out.
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