DUSHANBE, January 08, /ITAR-TASS/. Tajikistan has started destroying small arms and light weapons units in cooperation and with the assistance of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
The OSCE Office in Tajikistan began overseeing the destruction of more than 1,000 small arms and light weapons units, including firearms collected from the local population and arms found in caches in various parts of the country.
The OSCE has provided special shredding machines for the purpose.
“Arms control is an important issue on the OSCE agenda, and is a priority for the OSCE Office in Tajikistan,” Erdal Duzdaban, Acting Head of the Politico-Military Department at the OSCE Office in Tajikistan, said while visiting the Tajik Interior Ministry’s Small Arms and Light Weapons Storage and Destruction Facility, where the operation is taking place.
“Over almost ten years of co-operation with the government and law enforcement structures of Tajikistan on arms security and stockpiles management, significant progress has been achieved in bringing standards of arms control and management closer in line with the best international practices and requirements,” he said.
Major General Farhod Shodmonbekov of the Interior Ministry said that “although the number of weapons seized decreases every year, arms caches are still found all over the country. The constant and significant support from the OSCE in strengthening Tajikistan’s capacity to store and destroy arms is vital in this regard, and we are determined to continue our joint efforts to enhance the overall security of the country.”
A total of 1,165 weapons will be destroyed by Interior Ministry specialists during the two-week operation.
The OSCE Office in Tajikistan has supported similar operations since 2005. The OSCE also trained Tajik specialists in applying physical security measures, including transportation and destruction of small arms, light weapons and conventional ammunition stockpiles, the OSCE said.