Traffic and Road Conditions in Tajikistan

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions

While in Tajikistan, you 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 any particular location or circumstance.

Travel to, from, and within Tajikistan is difficult and unreliable. Neighboring countries may unilaterally close borders and some borders are poorly delineated. Armed police or military checkpoints can make road travel outside Dushanbe more difficult. Crossing the Tajik-Uzbek border, in particular, has been known to present difficulties for drivers operating vehicles with non-Tajik government-issued plates. Road travel should be undertaken only in daylight hours and on routes known to the traveler or a reliable escort. Those traveling to Gorno-Badakhshan by car should do so only during daylight hours. The roads traverse mountainous terrain along the Afghan border that is difficult to navigate, even in daylight hours. If you are driving, be vigilant because pedestrians often tend to cross the street at inappropriate places or walk along the highway without paying attention to vehicular traffic. Also, erratic driving and car accidents are common. Traffic police are posted at stationary positions and checkpoints and along major roads. They are notorious for paying little if any attention to traffic safety issues, but rather for randomly pulling over cars and exacting bribes. In Dushanbe, expensive cars and those with government license plates routinely speed past police, sometimes on the wrong side of the road and through stoplights, while other cars are flagged down for “document checks.”

Public transportation vehicles in the city are often overcrowded and not always safe. Bus services between major cities have been severely disrupted by border closures and should not be relied upon. The State Traffic Inspectorate (GAI, or in Tajiki, BDA), which has checkpoints in many cities and at regular intervals along all highways outside the city, frequently stops vehicles for inspection of both the vehicle and the driver’s documents. The government will not register vehicles with darkly tinted windows. During the winter months, the potential dangers when traveling outside Dushanbe in the mountainous areas of the country are heightened. Every year, accidents and casualties occur on Tajikistan’s mountain roads and passes, often when drivers ignore warnings not to travel over a closed mountain pass. Avalanches are a common occurrence in Tajikistan’s mountains during the winter months. The tunnel bypassing the Anzob Pass is still not complete and you should try to obtain information regarding tunnel conditions before traveling via this route. The alternate Anzob Pass road is not maintained. Please exercise caution and limit winter travel to Tajikistan’s mountain regions.

In certain parts of the country, including the Vakhsh and Rasht valleys and along the Afghan-Tajik border, land mines and cluster munitions form an additional hazard. If an area has land mine warning signs, or is marked off with red and white plastic tape, heed the warning and do not venture off the road. In all cases, do not pick up or handle anything that looks like unexploded munitions.

Emergency phone numbers in Tajikistan include: fire – 01, police – 02, ambulance – 03, state traffic control (GAI) duty officer – 235-4545.


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