With violence soaring in Gorno-Badakhshan the Tajik government has announced today that it is closing the entire border with Afghanistan to prevent reinforcements from entering the country. The announcement comes after a claim that the government caught eight Taliban fighting on behalf of the rebels.
The fighting in Tajikistan has been on the rise for weeks, with the military launching a major offensive after blaming the rebels for killing a top general. Gorno-Badakhshan has been in a state of semi-autonomy since the 1992 civil war, and factions continue to hope for independence.
Tajikistan is mostly a “one party” system with little representation for the ethnic Pamiris in the east. Taliban interest in the fight seems primarily aimed at spiting a key US ally in the region.
The closure will not effect NATO supply trucks crossing the border into Afghanistan, at least not yet. The Tajik government may reconsider this if the border continues to be an issue. This would be a particularly inopportune time for NATO to lose the Tajik supply route, as Pakistan has once again had to close the southern route because of insecurity.