One of the checkpoints on the state border between Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan has closed entry/exit. Uzbek authorities have temporarily suspended traffic through the Farap-Alat checkpoint due to the epidemic of acute respiratory viral infections. This was reported by Radio Azatlyk.
According to the Uzbek Border Guard Service, the checkpoint suspended operations as early as 20 November to prevent the spread of respiratory diseases. However, the timing of when the checkpoint will resume operations is still unknown.
Meanwhile, official Turkmenistan is silent. Officials have not explained the reasons for the closure. However, the border checkpoint between the Dashoguz region of Turkmenistan and the Khorezm region of Uzbekistan continues to operate.
It is noteworthy that the Turkmenistan Chronicle, which reported on 5 December on the closure of the Farap-Alat border crossing at the Turkmen-Uzbek border in the Lebap region, notes that Turkmen citizens are allowed to go home from Uzbekistan, but they cannot return to Uzbekistan. Even a valid visa will not help.
“Uzbek border guards inform citizens with visas that the checkpoint is closed for 40 days,” an anonymous source told Radio Azatlyk.
It is also worth noting that in recent days, Lebap residents have been interrogated by officers of the Ministry of National Security of Turkmenistan upon their return from Uzbekistan. They are summoned to the regional police and asked with whom and where they were during the trip, questioned, and asked if they are connected to criminal groups. Especially those who have visited Uzbekistan more than 15 times in the last year are interrogated.
Border guards knew about the impending border closure, according to the Turkmenistan Chronicle. As early as three weeks ago, an employee at the passport office in Turkmenabat warned an ethnic Uzbek traveling from Turkmenistan to Uzbekistan to hurry if he wanted to go to Uzbekistan. The Turkmen side has not commented on the closure of the Farap-Alat border crossing. There are versions that this is due to the spread of respiratory disease throughout the region, including Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. In the latter country, the number of sick people is constantly growing, including many schoolchildren and kindergarten children.