Tajikistan - Consular Information Sheet
September 26, 2001
TRAVEL WARNING (Issued September 26, 2001): The Department
of State warns U.S. citizens to defer all travel to Tajikistan.
In the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United
States, the Department urges Americans residing in or visiting
Tajikistan to reevaluate their continued presence there. The security
situation in Tajikistan remains unstable, and the political situation
is fluid. There have been outbreaks of fighting between government
forces and former armed opposition leaders. These conflicts have
included hostage taking and assassination. From time to time,
the U.S. Embassy may suspend or otherwise restrict the travel
of U.S. Embassy personnel to Tajikistan and within Tajikistan.
The Department of State relocated Embassy operations from Dushanbe,
Tajikistan to Almaty, Kazakhstan in 1998 due to threats to Americans
and American interests worldwide, instability in Tajikistan and
the limited ability to secure the safety of U.S. Embassy personnel
in the Embassy facility in Dushanbe. All American diplomatic personnel
currently reside in Almaty, Kazakhstan, and they travel periodically
During the summer periods of 1999 and 2000, Tajikistan experienced
incursions of armed militants loyal to the Islamic Movement of
Uzbekistan (IMU). The Secretary of State has designated the IMU
as a foreign terrorist organization. In past years, IMU forces
took foreigners as hostages. There have been reports indicating
an incursion by the IMU into Tajikistan may occur again during
2001. Americans should particularly avoid areas along the borders
with Afghanistan and Kyrgyzstan, the Karategin Valley, and Tavildara
American citizens resident in or visiting Tajikistan are urged
to consider their personal security and safety in view of this
warning. Departure options from Tajikistan may be limited in an
emergency. U.S. citizens, their family members and their dependents
can maximize departure options by obtaining extended visas for
travel to other countries. Destination countries with direct connections
to Tajikistan include Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Russia, Turkey
U.S. citizens are strongly advised to register and obtain updated
security information at the American Embassy in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.
Contact information in Dushanbe (switchboard staffed 24 hours
per day): 992-372-21-03-48; 24-15-60; 51-00-28. Consular services
for Tajikistan are handled in coordination with the U.S. Embassy
in Almaty, Kazakhstan, and emergency consular services to U.S.
citizens in Tajikistan may be severely limited. The telephone
number for the American Embassy in Almaty is 7-3272-63-39-21;
This Travel Warning supersedes the Travel Warning for Tajikistan
issued June 29, 2001, to update the security situation.
COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Tajikistan, a newly independent country
in central Asia, has been undergoing profound political and economic
changes since the break-up of the Soviet Union. After the civil
war in 1992, sporadic fighting continued, largely in remote areas.
Although comprehensive peace accords were signed in June 1997,
some armed clashes involving renegade forces still take place.
Tourist facilities are undeveloped, and many goods and services
taken for granted in other countries are unavailable. The capital
ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: A passport and visa are required.
Entry into Tajikistan at points along the Gorno-Badakhshan border
requires special authorization in advance. Without a visa, travelers
cannot register at hotels and may be required to leave the country
immediately. In the U.S., visas for Tajikistan are issued by the
Russian Embassy, Consular Division, 1825 Phelps Place NW, Washington,
D.C. 20008, telephone (202) 939-8907, or the Russian consulates
in New York, San Francisco or Seattle. Tajik visas granted by
these offices are valid for a stay of three days in Tajikistan.
If travelers plan a longer stay, they may apply for a longer visa
at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs after arriving in the country.
Note: Travelers who intend to visit Tajikistan should
obtain double-entry Russian, Kazakh or Uzbek visas prior to departure,
depending on intended transit points.
SAFETY AND SECURITY: Tajikistan has suffered from severe
security problems since gaining independence. Tajikistan borders
on Afghanistan, which currently shelters Usama bin Laden and serves
as the base of his terrorist network. The continued instability
in Afghanistan has adversely affected the security situation in
those central Asian countries that border it, including Tajikistan.
In addition to the threat from Afghanistan, ethnic Uzbek Islamic
extremists, currently located in Tajikistan, used Tajik territory
to stage cross-border attacks into Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan in
1999, taking hostage Japanese and Kyrgyz citizens in the process.
Organized crime continues to be a serious problem in the capital
city of Dushanbe and its environs. Sporadic violence, including
bombings and shootings in public areas, is common, and it is largely
the result of fighting between rival warlord factions competing
for control of markets and narcotics trafficking. In addition,
incidents between government troops and militia factions occur
regularly. These incidents have included several spontaneous shootouts
in public marketplaces, a series of bombings around government
buildings in February 2000, and the bombing of a public bus in
February 2000 that killed at least 7 people. In March 2000, the
government began a campaign to disarm various factional militias
operating in Dushanbe. This operation has involved the establishment
of roadblocks throughout the city by heavily armed security personnel,
who stop and search practically all vehicles; occasionally, this
operation has met with armed resistance, resulting in the injury
To date, these attacks have not targeted Americans, but other
innocent bystanders have been injured in some of these attacks.
Because of this unpredictability, U.S. travelers should avoid
demonstrations, crowds, and places where military personnel congregate.
Americans should avoid, in particular, the Green Market in Dushanbe
because it has been the site of numerous skirmishes that have
killed or injured a number of bystanders. Americans should remain
inside during hours of darkness. Security forces have a strong
presence in the capital and the southern half of the country.
U.S. citizens should check with the U.S. Embassy in Almaty for
current information before traveling outside Dushanbe, and they
should observe strict security precautions while moving about,
at their work sites, and at their homes. The situation in Leninabad
Province, in the northern part of the country, and in Gorno Badakhshan
in the east, has been generally quiet.
Security personnel may at times place foreign visitors under
surveillance. Hotel rooms, telephones and fax machines may be
monitored, and personal possessions in hotel rooms may be searched.
Taking photographs of anything that could be perceived as being
of military or security interest may result in problems with the
CRIME: Tajikistan is a country with a struggling economy
and widespread unemployment, which have resulted in a high rate
of street crime. There have been a number of pickpocketings, muggings,
and armed robberies in the homes of persons perceived to have
money, including foreigners. Travelers should not travel alone
or on foot after dark. The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport
should be reported immediately to the nearest U.S. embassy or
The Department of State's pamphlet, A
Safe Trip Abroad, provides useful information on guarding
valuables and protecting personal security while traveling abroad.
Additional information on the region can be found in the brochure,
for Travelers to Russia. Both publications are available
Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office,
Washington, D.C. 20402, and via the Internet at http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs
MEDICAL FACILITIES: The medical infrastructure of Tajikistan
is significantly below Western standards. Many trained medical
personnel have left the country. Medical equipment and medicines
MEDICAL INSURANCE: U.S. medical insurance is not always
valid outside the United States. U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs
do not provide payment for medical services outside the United
States. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment
for health services. Uninsured travelers who require medical care
overseas may face extreme difficulties.
Please check with your own insurance company to confirm whether
your policy applies overseas, including provision for medical
evacuation, and for adequacy of coverage. Serious medical problems
requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United
States can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Please ascertain
whether payment will be made to the overseas hospital or doctor
or if you will be reimbursed later for expenses that you incur.
Some insurance policies also include coverage for psychiatric
treatment and for disposition of remains in the event of death.
Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas
insurance programs, is provided in the Department of State's Bureau
of Consular Affairs brochure, Medical
Information for Americans Traveling Abroad, available
via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page, http://travel.state.gov,
or autofax: (202) 647-3000.
OTHER HEALTH INFORMATION: Significant disease outbreaks
are possible due to population shifts and the breakdown in immunization
activity. There have been outbreaks of typhoid in the Dushanbe
area and in the south, and the risk of cholera and water-borne
illnesses is high. Information on vaccinations and other health
precautions may be obtained from the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international
travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747); fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX
(1-888-232-3299), or via the CDC's Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov.
The government of Tajikistan requires visitors who remain in
country for more than 90 days to present a medical certificate
showing that they are HIV-free, or to submit to an HIV test in
Tajikistan. This testing requirement has not been implemented,
but could be at any time. Because of the lack of medical supplies,
submitting to an HIV test in Tajikistan could be risky.
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in a foreign
country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ
significantly from those in the United States. The information
below concerning Tajikistan is provided for general reference
only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location
Safety of Public Transportation: Poor
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Fair
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Poor
Road travel can be made difficult by checkpoints, where police
or soldiers are armed and have been known to shoot if vehicles
do not stop. Some checkpoints, operated by independent armed groups,
which have targeted foreigners in the past, exist on the road
east of Dushanbe. For this reason, road travel to the east is
strongly discouraged. Vehicles with Tajik license plates have
frequently been refused permission to enter Uzbekistan, so a change
of vehicles at the border may be required. Road travel should
be undertaken only in daylight hours, and on routes known to the
traveler or a reliable escort.
additional general information about road safety, including links
to foreign government sites, please see the Department of
State, Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov/road_safety.html.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: As there is no direct commercial
air service by local carriers at present, nor economic authority
to operate such service between the United States and Tajikistan,
the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed
Tajikistan's Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with international
aviation safety standards.
For further information, travelers may contact the Department
of Transportation within the United States at telephone 1-800-322-7873,
or visit the
FAA's Internet web site at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/. The
U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign
air carriers for suitability as official providers of air services.
For information regarding the DOD policy on specific carriers,
travelers may contact the DOD at telephone (618) 229-4801.
CUSTOMS REGULATIONS: Tajik customs authorities may subject
all items that are imported into or exported from Tajikistan to
a high level of scrutiny and may enforce strict customs regulations
against those who import and export goods. For specific information
about customs requirements, travelers may contact the U.S.- Tajikistan
Chamber of Commerce, 1250 24th St., N.W., Suite 350, Washington,
D.C. 20037, telephone (202) 776-7770.
CRIMINAL PENALITIES: While in a foreign country, a U.S.
citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which
sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States
and may not afford the protections available to the individual
under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe
than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating
Tajikistan's laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested
or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in
illegal drugs in Tajikistan are strict, and convicted offenders
can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.
CONSULAR ACCESS: Travelers to Tajikistan are subject to
frequent document inspections. Therefore, U.S. citizens are strongly
encouraged to carry a copy of their U.S. passports and Tajik visa
with them at all times so that they may more readily prove that
they are U.S. citizens. In accordance with the Vienna Convention
on Consular Relations and certain bilateral agreements, local
authorities must grant a United States consular officer access
to any U.S. citizen who is arrested. U.S. citizens who are arrested
or detained should ask for the U.S. Embassy to be contacted immediately.
SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES: Travel to, from, and within Tajikistan
is difficult and unreliable. Flights may be canceled or substantially
delayed. Commercial charter flights are frequently overloaded
with merchandise. International train connections are dangerous
because of criminals operating onboard. Tajikistan is a cash-only
economy. International banking services are not available. Credit
cards and traveler's checks are not accepted. Travel with large
amounts of cash can be dangerous. Tajikistan has introduced its
own currency, the Tajik ruble, which is convertible. Please contact
the U.S.-Tajikistan Chamber of Commerce, 1250 24th St., N.W. Suite
350, Washington D.C. 20037, telephone (202) 776-7770, for information
on currency restrictions.
DISASTER PREPAREDNESS: Tajikistan is an earthquake-prone
country. General information about natural disaster preparedness
is available via the Internet from the
U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at http://www.fema.gov/.
CHILDREN'S ISSUES: For
information on international adoption of children and international
parental child abduction, please refer to our Internet site
or telephone (202) 736-7000.
REGISTRATION/EMBASSY AND CONSULATE LOCATIONS: U.S. citizens
are encouraged to register with the Consular Section of the U.S.
Embassy Almaty, Kazakhstan and obtain updated information on travel
and security within Tajikistan. The U.S. Embassy in Almaty is
located at 99/97A Furmanov Street, telephone 7(3272) 63-39-05.
U.S. citizens may also register with the Consular Section of the
U.S. Embassy in Tajikistan by telephone or fax, but emergency
consular services for U.S. citizens may be limited or unavailable.
U.S. citizens are reminded that personnel for the U.S. Embassy
to Tajikistan are resident in Almaty. Consequently, the U.S. presence
in Tajikistan is not continuous. The U.S. Embassy is temporarily
located at 10 Pavola Street, Dushanbe, telephone 011 (992)(372)
21-03-48/50/52 fax 011 (992)(372) 21-03-62.
* * *
This replaces the Consular Information Sheet dated September
24, 2001 to incorporate the information about the current Travel
Warning for Tajikistan.