Tajikistan’s relations with NATO should be viewed through the Partnership for Peace (PfP) framework which the country joined in 2002. NATO and Tajikistan actively cooperate in the fight against terrorism and have developed practical cooperation in many other areas. The Individual Partnership Programme (IPP) lays out the programme of cooperation between NATO and Tajikistan.
Dialogue takes place within the framework of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC). The NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia, James Appathurai, conducts high-level political dialogue with Tajik authorities through regular visits to the country. The NATO Liaison Officer in Central Asia also visits Dushanbe regularly and reviews cooperation with the government.
NATO and Tajikistan are developing practical cooperation in a number of areas through the country’s Individual Partnership Programme (IPP), which is jointly agreed for a two-year period. Key areas include security and peacekeeping cooperation, especially counter-terrorism cooperation and border security, crisis management and civil emergency planning.
Key areas of cooperation
Tajikistan plays an important role in supporting Allied operations in Afghanistan through the hosting of French military aircraft at Dushanbe Airport. The Allies and Tajikistan also cooperate in the fight against international terrorism. NATO is supporting the country in its efforts to create an educational course on counter-terrorism for the Military Institute of the Ministry of Defence. Tajikistan also exchanges relevant expertise and information with the Allies.
Tajikistan has listed a number of units as available for NATO/PfP operations and training exercises. Participation requires a government decision in each individual case. The units include an infantry platoon to support PfP activities within Tajikistan, a group of staff officers and a group of military medics. Tajikistan is also seeking to enhance cooperation with NATO Allies in mine-clearing activities. The country has participated in a number of PfP exercises with NATO Allies and other partner countries.
Defence and security sector reform
Tajikistan aims to develop sustained and effective democratic control of its armed forces. In consultation with the Allies, the country is developing coordination procedures between the government, parliament and the military. It is also in the process of reforming its armed forces. Cooperative processes with the PfP framework assist in achieving these goals and enhance the country’s ability to take part in peacekeeping or other operations alongside NATO forces. Tajikistan is also considering participation in the PfP Planning and Review Process (PARP) mechanism.
The Allies are available for consultations on Tajikistan’s efforts to consolidate its defence policies, strategies and relevant legislation. NATO is also ready to support the country’s efforts to modernise and mobilise relevant state resources. NATO and Tajikistan are working to further cooperate in strengthening the country’s border security and countering cross-border crime, especially drug trafficking. To that effect, Tajikistan has sent numerous personnel to attend counter-narcotics training sponsored by an initiative of the NATO-Russia Council.
Military education is a key area of cooperation. Joint efforts are ongoing to develop courses in several areas, including border security and control, as well as language training. NATO and Tajikistan continue to work on preparing selected individuals from the country for NATO-related activities and the possible introduction of Alliance standards in the country’s military education programmes. Tajikistan has sent officers to take part in NATO familiarisation courses and in various other courses at the NATO School at Oberammergau.
A PfP Trust Fund project to help eliminate stockpiles of large munitions, as well as assess the security of weapons’ storage facilities is currently under development.
Civil emergency planning
Tajikistan is working to further familiarise itself with Allied disaster-relief organisation and procedures in order to further develop its own capabilities. The country is considering the creation of its own disaster-relief operation centre and the creation of a small, NATO-compatible disaster-relief unit.
The Allies are working with Tajikistan in developing early warning systems for natural disasters. Individuals from Tajikistan have participated in NATO-run tactical and operational civil-military-cooperation courses. A NATO introductory course on civil emergency planning took place in Dushanbe in July 2011.
Science and environment
Scientists from Tajikistan have received grant awards in a number of areas under NATO’s Science for Peace and Security (SPS) programme. In 2006, a networking infrastructure grant was issued to upgrade the cooperative area network in the Tajik technical university.
In 2010, specialists from Tajikistan attended a NATO Science for Peace and Security sponsored programme designed to teach scientist and engineers the latest technology to secure the cyber networks of the educational and scientific communities in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) region.
Collaboration with NATO and other Partner countries is also ongoing on uranium extraction and environmental security, and new SPS projects are under preparation.
Tajikistan also participates in the Virtual Silk Highway project, which aims to increase internet access for academic and research communities in countries of the Caucasus and Central Asia through a satellite-based network.
Tajikistan and NATO are working together to increase public understanding of NATO and the benefits of cooperation. The country is also aiming to increase public awareness in support of defence and security reforms.
Networks with universities, non-governmental organisations, and the press and media in order to increase awareness of the Alliance and Euro-Atlantic security issues continue to be enhanced through different activities. These include, among others, international conferences in Tajikistan and Tajik participation to yearly NATO-Afghan Student Forums. Work is ongoing on the potential establishment of a NATO Depository Library at the Tajik National University of Dushanbe.
NATO supports educational activities relevant to security and defence issues in the country. Since 2005, NATO’s Public Diplomacy Division has sponsored a summer academy in Tajikistan which brings together advanced students from around the country and beyond, to learn about and discuss international security issues.
A group of parliamentarians and journalists from the country visited NATO Headquarters in July 2006, followed by a group of government officials from Tajikistan in September 2007. In 2009, President Emomali Rahmon paid another visit to NATO Headquarters. In 2011, Tajik parliamentarians and Tajik diplomatic officials visited NATO Headquarters.
In every partner country an embassy of one of the NATO member states serves as a contact point and operates as a channel for disseminating information about the role and policies of the Alliance. The current NATO Contact Point Embassy in Tajikistan is the embassy of France.
Evolution of relations
NATO-Tajikistan relations date back to 1992, when the country joined the North Atlantic Cooperation Council (later renamed the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council in 1997). Tajikistan joined the Partnership for Peace in 2002 to work alongside the Allies in areas where bilateral aims converge. Since joining PfP, Tajikistan has played an active role in hosting and participating in PfP exercises, with a special focus on command and control, civil-emergency planning and civil-military co-operation. There remains further scope for deepening cooperation.
1992 – Tajikistan joins the North Atlantic Cooperation Council, renamed the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council in 1997
2002 – Tajikistan joins the Partnership for Peace.
2003 – Tajikistan is connected to the Virtual Silk Highway.
President Emomali Rahmon of Tajikistan makes his first visit to NATO HQ.
2004 – NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer visits Dushanbe.
The Allies sign a transit agreement with Tajikistan in support of the NATO-ISAF operations in Afghanistan.
Tajikistan completes destruction of over 1200 landmines under a PfP Trust Fund project.
2005 – The annual NATO-sponsored Summer Academy in Tajikistan runs its first course.
2007 – On 2 July 2007, Tajikistan’s Foreign Minister, Hamrokhon Zarifi, visits NATO Headquarters for discussions with the NATO Secretary General.
A group of government officials from Tajikistan visit NATO Headquarters and the Allied Operational Command to explore possibilities to deepen cooperation with NATO in different areas.
2008 – NATO expert team visits Dushanbe.
Annual NATO-sponsored Summer Academy takes place in Tajikistan.
2009 – President of Tajikistan, Emomali Rahmon, visits NATO Headquarters in February for discussions with the NATO Secretary General and opens a Tajik Painting Exhibition00.
2010 – President of Tajikistan, Emomali Rahmon, meets with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen while in New York.