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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
07ASHGABAT1187 2007-11-02 12:34:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Ashgabat
Cable title:  

TURKMENISTAN: ALONG THE IRANIAN BORDER

Tags:   PGOV PREL ASEC MARR IR TX 
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RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ASHGABAT 001187 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR SCA/CEN, NEA/IR, INL

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/01/2017
TAGS: PGOV PREL ASEC MARR IR TX
SUBJECT: TURKMENISTAN: ALONG THE IRANIAN BORDER

REF: ASHGABAT

Classified By: CHARGE RICHARD E. HOAGLAND FOR REASONS 1.5 (B) AND (D).



1. (C) SUMMARY: EmbOffs toured on October 30 State Border
Service (SBS) facilities near the Iranian border, including a
kennel where tracker dogs are trained. In contrast to recent
months, SBS hosts were warm and rather informal. Smuggling
remains a seious problem along Turkmenistan's border with
Iran. SBS has intercepted at least one haul of synthetic
drugs, thanks to training border guards received at an EXBS
training seminar. END SUMMARY.



2. (SBU) On October 30, DCM traveled with EXBS advisor and
EXBS assistant to visit customs posts near Turkmenistan's
border with Iran. They stopped at several State Border
Service (SBS) units in the Ashgabat headquarters region,
including a border guards base in Annau (about 30 minutes
drive from Ashgabat), a kennel, a smaller post in the hills
about 40 kilometers from the border, and an SBS rest area.
Captain Bayram Garayev, Principal Deputy for the Ashgabat
region, and Major Oraz Orazov, Combat Training Deputy,
accompanied EmbOffs.

ALONG THE IRANIAN BORDER



3. (SBU) Along the Iranian border, the State Border Service
headquarters' units are located in Serahs, Kaka, Ashgabat,
Berherden, Karakala, and Gaudan. These headquarters units
are commanded by a major or lieutenant colonel. The crossing
point near Karakala is located at Altyn Asyr. There is also
a border crossing point at Galdan. The only rail crossing
point along the Iranian border is at Serahs. The smaller
zastavas (border guard posts) under each headquarters can
have as many as 50 men. SBS troops patrol the border area by
vehicle where there are roads, on foot, and on horseback in
mountainous terrain. SBS uses some aircraft, but rarely,
because it is very expensive. EXBS-donated WMD portal
monitors are at all crossing points.



4. (SBU) An electrified fence runs along the length of the
border. While the charge is not strong enough to shock an
intruder, sensors on the fence alert the nearest border
guards unit of the location of a breach. A raked road runs
alongside the fence or, in some places, between two fences,
to detect footprints.



5. (C) Smuggling (primarily drugs) from Afghanistan and Iran
is a major problem. In October, a border policeman was
wounded by smugglers near Serahs. Drugs also enter along the
Caspian, trasported by high-speed motor boats. Smugglers
also are trying to bring in synthetic drugs. Summer 2007,
SBS officials had their first bust of man-made drugs. A
woman was caught at a crossing point on the Iranian border
with ecstasy in vials disguised as prescription drugs. The
SBS were able to detect the contraband using training they
had learned in May at an EXBS training seminar in McAllen,
Texas.

TRACKING DOGS



6. (C) The dog kennel, which has spaces for 33 dogs (almost
all of which were filled), trains canines for work in the
mountains. As the Turkmenistani officials explained, if the
dogs were trained on flat terrain, they would not be able to
work in high altitude. The border guards breed their own
dogs, and several retired trackers live in the kennel as
breed stock. Most of the tracking dogs are German shepherds,
although a few were spaniels, and used to detect drugs. One
dog, the kennel official said, is used to search for mines
and was trained in Russia. (COMMENT: We are unaware of mines
along the border with Iran. However, in March, during
bilateral militay discussions, a senior MOD officer said
Turkmenistan had destroyed all mines on its terrirotry in

ASHGABAT 00001187 002 OF 002


accordance with its treaty obligations, while at the same
time somewhat contradictorily asking for new mine detectors.
END COMMENT.) It also participated in a tracker dog
competition in Russia. All the other dogs were trained in
Turkmenistan. The kennel was clean, and the dogs were all
well cared for.



7. (SBU) The kennel has a state-of-the-art veterinanry
clinic, which was financed by the EU's border management
program for Central Asia (BOMCA). The clinic, which opened
in February, has two surgery rooms, a large bath, laboratory,
and kennels for sick animals.

BUILDING A BETTER RELATIONSHIP



8. (SBU) Garayev and Orazov hosted EmbOffs for a traditional
lamb feast at a SBS rest area at an oasis about a mile beyond
the electrified fence. Despite a certain coolness and
formality in recent months in contacts with the Embassy, both
men were warm, talkative, and effusive. Garayev spent a month
in New Mexico on a U.S.-sponsored training seminar that he
raved about. In addition, to the typical toasting, they
opened up about their families and for more than an hour told
anecdotes and jokes.

A HISTORY LESSON



9. (SBU) The recent official emphasis on Turkmen history and
culture was also evident on this trip. The entry walkway of
the Annau SBS base (which opened two months ago) is flanked
by posters of Turkmen historical figures. On the wall of the
conference room in the small border post in the mountains,
not far from the corner dedicated to the "Ruhnama," former
president Niyazov's "book of the soul," was a poster of
Turkmen historical figures. During the lunch Garayev told
several stories about ancient Turkmen heroes.



10. (C) COMMENT: Despite a recent standoffishness and
reluctance to particpate in U.S.-sponsored programs like the
Marshall Center, SBS officials on this trip were warm and
very appreciative of U.S. training and equipment. We hope
the relationship will continue to warm. END COMMENT.
HOAGLAND