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In Tajikistan, FSD works on clearing landmines and other unexploded ordnance, remediates areas contaminated with toxic pollutants and promotes resilience against climate change.

Destruction preparation of munitions along the Tajik-Afgan border

An FSD team is preparing the destruction of abandoned and unexploded ordnance collected along the Tajik-Afghan border. (Tajikistan, 2022)



In 1991, following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Tajikistan, alongside several former Soviet States, declared its independence. In the following years, Russian military forces placed landmines along Tajikistan’s Afghanistan border, and the civil war left behind countless items of unexploded ordnance. In the early 2000s, additional landmines were laid by Uzbek forces along the Tajikistan-Uzbekistan border. 

Tajikistan is also contaminated by other forms of soil and water pollution, dating back to the Soviet era. In 1950–60, pesticides, known as persistent organic pollutants (POPs), were largely distributed in the country, almost for free, to increase agricultural production. The collapse of the Soviet Union saw numerous stockpiles of these pesticides abandoned in the country.

Since then, such obsolete POPs, notably Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, commonly known as DDT, have started to infiltrate the environment and the food chain. Long-term exposure to such organic persistent pollutants has been linked to a series of negative impacts on health, from effects on the nervous, immune, reproductive and endocrine systems to various types of birth defects and cancers.

While the Tajik government is aware of the risks of such substances on health, the environment and the economy, it lacks the legal, financial and institutional resources to solve the problem.

When it rains or snows, the soil turns yellow and the smell is unbearable.


An inhabitant of Oykamar, a village contaminated by toxic pesticides.

Salmanjoon - Inhabitant of Oykamar, village contaminated by toxic pesticides

Environmental remediation

The project’s aim is to clear soils contaminated by toxic pesticides. In an initial project, FSD relocated families living above a pesticide dump before removing and transporting the top layers of contaminated soil to a secure central storage site in Vakhsh, far from any homes and waterways. Clean soil is later transported to contaminated villages.

In addition, FSD is developing and testing new technologies to permanently eliminate the problem of POPs without releasing toxic emissions.

FSD excavator in Tajikistan

Mine clearance

Between 2003 and 2018, FSD cleared 31,584 mines and items of unexploded ordnance in Tajikistan and, for almost 20 years, FSD’s weapons and ammunition destruction teams safely destroyed over 40 tonnes of obsolete stockpiles of small arms and ammunition, dating from the Soviet era. Now, the project will focus again on the clearance of landmines and unexploded ordnance in various locations of Tajikistan, according to national priorities.

Our teams will contribute to releasing the remaining 12 square kilometers of contaminated land to meet their obligations under the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Treaty.

Local employee learning how to safely use an metal detector during basic training in Tajikistan

Resilience to climate change

High temperatures and strong winds eroding soils combined with poor investment in farming infrastructure make Tajikistan highly vulnerable to food insecurity. The country needs to increase agricultural resilience and food production methods, or it will suffer economic losses, humanitarian challenges, and environmental degradation from more frequent, intense, and unpredictable climate-related events.

FSD’s climate change resilience project includes planting trees for phytoremediation purposes, ensuring access to safe water for local communities, and promoting sustainable crop and vegetable production.

View of the area after planting and second mini truck unloading trees in Tajikistan

FSD in Tajikistan

FSD’s presence in Tajikistan dates back to 2003. For 15 years, our deminers cleared landmines and explosives ordnance, until the project was suspended due to lack of funding.

In 2009, FSD launched a stockpile disposal programme to contribute to national and regional security. Since 2022, this project has included a wider distribution of locations, notably in the Tajikistan-Uzbekistan border region in the west of the country, as better relationships were developed between the two countries. In the summer of 2023, the programme once again returned to mine clearance activities.

In 2016, FSD initiated a third project in Tajikistan: the remediation of areas contaminated by toxic pesticides left behind from the Soviet era. To address the contamination, FSD excavated soil from contaminated areas and transported it to a safe storage location in Vakhsh, which is far from residential areas and water sources. In parallel, FSD teams carried out risk education campaigns in villages across Tajikistan that are considered at highest risk from POP contamination.

The subsequent plan, in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme, is to test and develop disposal methodologies to eliminate all POPs effectively from contaminated soil. This action aligns with Tajikistan’s pledge to the Stockholm Convention.

In addition, FSD has planted thousands of trees to strengthen soil stability around Vakhsh, rehabilitated irrigation pumping systems supplying three towns, built several community greenhouses to improve food security and is mentoring local residents and community groups in sustainable crop and vegetable production.

FSD’s mine clearance project in Tajikistan is supported by the U.S. Department of State. Environmental support activities in the country are funded by the GEF, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and private foundations.


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An FSD deminer in blue protective vest and visors conducts manual landmine clearance at Khamadoni