On May 31, a group of Afghan cattle raiders stole some 80 cows from a farm in Shurobod district, on Tajikistan’s southern border with Afghanistan. Under the cover of the night, the armed raiders drove the cows across the Panj River, which separates the two countries. Earlier in the year, Afghans kidnapped two residents of the district. One of them was recently released after his relatives paid the ransom money (www.regnum.ru, June 2; http://www.avesta.tj, June 7).
These incidents demonstrate that almost six years after Tajik border guards assumed full control of the Afghan border, the frontier remains severely ill-protected. Part of the problem is the border’s geography. Much of the 1,344 kilometers (840 miles) Tajik-Afghan frontier is mountainous terrain, which makes it easier for Afghan smugglers to hide from Tajik border patrols and escape quickly when they are spotted.