Tajik semi-trucks carrying cargo to the Middle East countries are now using alternate roads to bypass Turkmenistan.  They are now forced to go to Uzbekistan, from there to Kazakhstan, from Kazakhstan to Russia, from there to Georgia and from there to Turkey.

The situation with the Tajik semi-trucks stuck at the Turkmen border remains unchanged.  For the last three weeks, more than 40 semi-trucks traveling to or from Tajikistan have lain stranded on the northern and southern borders of Turkmenistan.

The head of one of Tajik freight shipping companies says their semi-trucks are now forced “to bypass Turkmenistan to carry cargo to Turkey and other Middle East countries.”  According to him, they use the alternate road to Turkey via Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Russia and Georgia.   

Moreover, the Turkmen authorities do not allow freight trains bound for Tajikistan to pass through Turkmen territory. 

A source in Tajik Railways (Tajikistan’s state railway company) says more than 100 freight cars with oil products, food products, agricultural goods, building materials and various equipment bound for Tajikistan are stranded in Turkmenistan.    

As it had been reported earlier, dozens of semi-trucks with cargo bound for Tajikistan were stranded on Turkmenistan’s borders with Iran and Uzbekistan for almost a month in September last year.  The Ministry of Transport of Tajikistan that time advised drivers of Tajik trucks stranded on Iran-Turkmenistan border to use alternate roads to return home.

It is not clear why Turkmenistan should have barred Tajik vehicles from crossing its territory.  The Turkmen authorities still keep silence.

One of the possibilities being considered is that Turkmenistan is adopting stricter security measures in response to a possible discovery of drugs being carried across the border.  Tajikistan is believed by international drug enforcement officials to be a major hub for the trafficking of heroin originating in Afghanistan.      

Another theory is that Tajikistan’s Ambassador to Uzbekistan, Sodiq Ashourboyzoda, on September 20 last year ruffled some feathers when he told Russian newspaper Kommersant that in connection with improvement of relations between Tajikistan and Uzbekistan Dushanbe has decided “to postpone the idea of construction of the railway from Turkmenistan to Tajikistan through Afghanistan until better times.”

Turkmenistan’s Foreign Ministry released a statement, in which it expressed its misunderstanding to the Tajik side in connection with the statement of Tajikistan’s Ambassador to Uzbekistan Sodiq Ashourboyzoda, that Dushanbe intends to "defer to better times" the idea of ​​building a railroad Turkmenistan- Afghanistan-Tajikistan.

The three nations involved signed a memorandum of intent on the project in 2013 and Turkmenistan put its section into commission in 2016, while Tajikistan has been postponing construction of its section “due to lack of finance.”