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Tajikistan: a valley under fire

04-12-1996 News Release 96/48

Opposition forces seized control on 1 December of the small town of Garm, north-west of Dushanbe, thus breaking the cease-fire that had been agreed between local representatives of the warring parties and had held for some two months. The local ICRC team reacted immediately to the renewed hostilities by providing medicines and other emergency medical supplies for the treatment of those wounded in the fighting. Finding themselves extremely close to the action, the five delegates also distributed food and blankets and managed to forward Red Cross messages across the battle lines. This work was welcomed on both sides.

Hundreds of displaced families have sought refuge in the many villages of the Garm Valley, itself divided between government and opposition forces. These people have fled the fighting that has been flaring sporadically in this mountainous region. A road with numerous checkpoints is the only access route for emergency relief, which the ICRC sends to groups of people cut off  by the rugged terrain, the harsh weather conditions and the dangers of relentless warfare.

At present, over 23,000 displaced people are receiving regular ICRC assistance in the Garm Valley, Dushanbe and Khalaikhum, in Gorno-Badakhshan.