Global Insider: Uzbekistan-Tajikistan Tensions Driven by Mutual Dependence

Last month Uzbekistan stopped the shipment of gas to Tajikistan, a move that Tajikistan qualified as part of an ongoing rail transport and energy blockade. In an email interview, Idil Tuncer Kilavuz, lecturer at Marmara University in Istanbul, Turkey, discussed Uzbekistan-Tajikistan relations.

WPR: How have Uzbekistan-Tajikistan relations evolved since the fall of the Soviet Union?

Idil Tuncer Kilavuz: Since Uzbekistan and Tajikistan gained independence in 1991, their relations have been poor. Just after the fall of the Soviet Union, Tajikistan experienced a civil war in which Uzbekistan supported the existing Tajikistan leadership, which won the war in 1997. However, relations deteriorated beginning in 1998. Uzbekistan has blamed Tajikistan for attacks on its territory by the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan from bases in Tajikistan. Meanwhile, Tajikistan has objected to Uzbekistan’s decision to give shelter to civil war opposition commander Mahmud Khudayberdiev. In addition, relations are strained over issues of border delimitation, energy, transit roads and water use.

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