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2020-08-21 › Tajik Leader Offers Help in Meeting Afghans on Border

Tajikistan’s President Emomali Rahmon in a rare meeting with Afghans across Amu River, on the border with Afghanistan, offered help to residents of Darwaz region in the northeastern province of Afghanistan and said it will happen in coordination with Afghan officials. 

The two sides chatted with each other from across the Amu River in Shekay district of Badakhshan using loudspeakers.  

The video of the meeting went viral on social media with many Afghans commending Rahmon’s goodwill gesture and intention to help the country in the rural development sector. Some, however, criticized it. 

The region of Darwaz was a district of Badakhshan of Afghanistan until 2005. It was part of Darwaz region, which is now divided between Afghanistan and Tajikistan. In 2005, Darwaz was divided into Maimay district, Darwaz-e-Bala district and Shekay district. 

“The district and provincial authorities should get in touch with our officials and share their recommendations,” Rahmon said. "We will send you our assistance."

Five districts in Badakhshan are lying on the border with Tajikistan. Residents on the two sides of the border sometimes interact directly through their common markets. 

The local residents said they have seen no Afghan president meet the region, which is the most remote part of northeastern Afghanistan.   

Afghans who were standing on Afghanistan side of the Amu River held flags of Afghanistan and Tajikistan and asked for the Tajik leader’s help in certain areas.  

“People in our region are in dire need of water, electricity and telecommunication,” an Afghan citizen from Darwaz region said.

 “We are free to travel anytime we want, but there are security threats and a lack of transportation service. We spent 0 to 0 for visa to go and meet our families,” said Shirzad Musawi. 

 According to Shekay residents, the Tajik president travels to the region annually to meet the people. 

“Schools in some villages are in a miserable condition. Many students attend classes under trees… Many villages have no telecom service and health clinics,” said Mohib Babak, a Badakhshan resident.

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