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Rail Traffic Between Uzbekistan, Southern Tajikistan Restricted

DUSHANBE -- Uzbekistan has suspended rail traffic to Tajikistan's southern Khatlon district, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.

The Uzbek consul-general in Dushanbe, Zafar Rahimjonov, said on May 24 that floods in Uzbekistan have destroyed 11 kilometers of railroad tracks between the Amuzang and Termez stations and Uzbekistan does not have sufficient resources to guarantee its complete restoration.

Tajik officials say the Tajik railroad company offered to rebuild that stretch of railroad at its own expense but the Uzbek side has rejected that offer.

There are two other rail routes linking Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, one in the north and one to Dushanbe. Some freight is still being transported along those routes, even though Uzbekistan imposed temporary restrictions on May 7 on the crossborder passage of both passengers and freight due to an outbreak of polio in Tajikistan.

Tajik official Andrey Tropin said that some 969 freight cars with fuel, cement, and construction materials bound for Tajikistan are stranded in Uzbekistan. Numerous Tajik officials have complained that during the last four months Uzbekistan held up some 2,000 freight cars from Russia, Turkmenistan, and Iran bound for Tajikistan.