Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs Visits Regional Explosive Hazards Training Center

 Dushanbe, Tajikistan, May 04, 2023 – Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs Donald Lu, along with Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia Laura Cooper and National Security Council Director for Central Asia Maureen Haggard, visited Dushanbe, Tajikistan on April 26.

As part of the visit, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Program Office in Dushanbe hosted the delegation, accompanied by U.S. Ambassador to Tajikistan Manuel Micaller, at the Regional Explosive Hazards Training Centre (REHTC) of the Ministry of Defense (MoD) of Tajikistan in Chimteppa.  The purpose of visit was to familiarize the delegation with programs implemented by U.S. partners in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, and across Central Asia.  Representatives from Tajikistan’s Ministry of Defense briefed the delegation on REHTC’s in-country and regional activities.  Additionally, the delegation watched a team of women de-miners from Norwegian People`s Aid conduct a demonstration of mechanical sub-surface clearance procedures.

The United State is the primary donor to demining and explosive ordnance demolition efforts across the region.  The joint efforts between DoS and the U.S. Department of Defense, Tajikistan’s MoD, and the OSCE have assisted Tajikistan in clearing over 32 square kilometers of landmine-contaminated territory and promoted regional cooperation in the area of humanitarian demining.  Over the last ten years, the REHTC has trained over 600 Central Asian explosive ordnance and demolition professionals who play a key role in stopping the threat of landmines and other unexploded ordnance across Central Asia.  In the last two years, a total of 11 regional explosive hazards related training events were implemented.