Tajik authorities say Tajikistan will not be able to accept a mass influx of refugees from Afghanistan.

Tajik Interior Minister Ramazon Rahimzoda yesterday received Mr. Mulugeta Zewdie Mamo, UNHCR Representative in Tajikistan.

According to the Interior Ministry’s press center, the parties discussed issues related to accepting and accommodating potential refugees from Afghanistan.  

In the course of the talks, Tajik interior minister, in particular, noted that Tajikistan has accepted more than 15,000 Afghan refugees over the past fifteen years and around 5,000 Afghan military personnel have crossed the Afghan-Tajik border since the Taliban retook power in Afghanistan. 

However, the soldiers and officers of the Afghan army returned to their homeland after a week in Tajik territory, Rahimzoda said.  

According to him, about 80 Afghan families have gathered at the Afghan-Tajik border and they intend to cross the border.   

Rahimzoda noted that the Tajik government had allotted 70 hectares of lands in Jaihun, Shahritous, Farkhor and Shamsiddin-Shohin districts of Khatlon province as well as in the Gorno Badakhshan Autonomous Province (GBAO) for acceptance and accommodation of refugees. 

At the same time, Tajik interior minister stated that international organizations have not responded to the Tajik government’s appeals on the creation of infrastructure in the allotted areas.  

Rahimzoda emphasized that over the past twenty years, no international organization has helped Tajikistan create infrastructure for acceptance of potential refugees from Afghanistan.  

The minister also asked UNHCR to provide urgent assistance to Tajikistan in repairing and reconstructing the center for acceptance and accommodation of refugees, which is located in Khatlon’s Jaihun district.  

UNHCR opened its office in Tajikistan in 1993 following the invitation of the Government to assist the country with emergency relief-related activities aimed at helping internally displaced persons as the result of the civil war.

In 1993, Tajikistan became the first Central Asian country to accede to the 1951 Convention and 1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees.  Ever since, UNHCR has been working with the Government on establishing a reliable asylum system and has provided protection and assistance to refugees.