One more border crossing point has reopened along Tajikistan’s common border with Uzbekistan bringing the number of operational border crossing points (BCPs) along the Tajik-Uzbek border to four.

The “Qushtegirmon” border crossing point reopened in the Spitamen district (Sughd province) several days ago but official media outlets have not reported about that.

Recall, the “Patar” border crossing point reopened in the Konibodom district (Sughd province) on February 10.    

Before that, only two border crossing points (BPCs) having international status – “Dousti” in the Tursunzoda (central Tajikistan) and “Fotehobod” in the Mastchoh district (Sughd province) operated  twenty-four hours a day.

There are 16 border crossing points along Tajikistan’s common border with Uzbekistan; nine of them have an international status.  Twelve BCPs are located in the northern Sughd province and the remaining four BCPs are located in the southern Khatlon province and Tursunzoda district (central Tajikistan).

Uzbekistan had reportedly sealed many of the border crossing points along its common border with Tajikistan unilaterally in the 1990s. 

Dushanbe and Tashkent are currently discussing issues related to reopening all the border crossing points along the mutual border.

One more BPC having international status – Panjakent-Samarqand – is expected to reopen next month.  It was unilaterally sealed by the Uzbek authorities eight years ago.   

Meanwhile, reports released by some media outlets that the Uzbek authorities have allegedly permitted Tajik nationals to cross into Uzbek territory without visa do not correspond to the fact.

“Only nationals of each state living in border areas can visit the other visa-free for up to five days,” a source in the Tajik government told Asia-Plus in an interview.  

A number of agreements between Tajikistan and Uzbekistan were reached during a visit of Uzbek Prime Minister Abdulla Aripov to Dushanbe that took place on January 10.

Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, in particular, agreed to visa-free travel and other border-crossing measures.  Tajik Prime Minister Qohir Rasoulzoda and his Uzbek counterpart, Abdulla Aripov, agreed to finalize and sign the new border protocols in the near future.

The new border regulations allow Tajik citizens to visit Uzbekistan and Uzbek citizens to visit Tajikistan without visas for up to 30 days.

The regulations also provide for the building of new checkpoints along the border and the opening of several bus links to connect the two nations' towns and cities.

The sides also reached an agreement regarding the disputed dam of the Soviet-era “Farhod” hydropower station along the border.  Under the accord, the land on which the station stands will be Tajik property, while the station itself -- including its equipment and infrastructure -- will be owned by Uzbekistan.      

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, ties between Tajikistan and Uzbekistan have often been tense due to disagreements on issues including borders, water, energy resources, and transit routes.

Relations between the countries have become warmer after Shavkat Mirziyoyev came to power in Uzbekistan in 2016.  Mirziyoyev has said that improving ties with Central Asian nations is a major priority of Uzbekistan’s foreign policy.

Shavkat Mirziyoyev told lawmakers in the Tashkent region on January 6 that important bilateral agreements would be signed during his visit to Tajikistan.  “We will sign many agreements on cooperation in the railway and energy spheres.  We will also be considering many other issues,” he said.