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NEWS | April 21, 2023

VNG MPs conduct border checkpoint security exchange in Tajikistan

By Mike Vrabel | Virginia National Guard Public Affairs

Virginia National Guard Soldiers assigned to the Hanover-based 229th Military Police Company, 276th Engineer Battalion, 329th Regional Support Group conducted a border checkpoint security military exchange with the Republic of Tajikistan April 10-14, 2023, at the border checkpoint in Dusti, Tajikistan. The exchange was conducted in support of the Department of Defense's State Partnership Program, in which Virginia and Tajikistan have been partners since 2003.

The exchange took place at the Dusti checkpoint, just outside of the capital Dushanbe, because of very heavy traffic going to and coming from Uzbekistan, according to Maj. Isaac Rivera, the VNG’s SPP director. 

The team of four MPs, including one officer and three noncommissioned officers, worked with their Tajik partners to improve operations at the checkpoint. 

“As part of the exchange, the team shared ideas, best practices and lessons learned with their Tajikistan partners,” said Rivera. “Capt. Joshua Charlton, the officer in charge, said he was extremely grateful for the training his Soldiers were able to participate in with our foreign partners to take back home to the unit.”

Charlton and the three NCOs on the exchange average 10 years of military police experience. Sgt. Emilie Kellogg, shared her 10 years of both military and civilian law enforcement experience with the Tajik team, and experience she called beneficial. 

“I hope the trend of military police Soldiers being able to work with and build lasting memories with our foreign partners continues in future foreign exchanges,” said Kellogg. 

The Tajik participants in the exchange came from all levels of experience, from newcomers to those having served more than 30 years, all along the country’s borders. 

“Thank you for arranging this event,” said Lt. Col. Rakhimov Nuarez, commander of Checkpoint Dusti. “We enjoyed learning many new things and hope you learned just as much from us as we learned from you.”

In July, the VNG and Tajikistan will celebrate the 20th anniversary of their formal partnership in the State Partnership Program.  The relationship has benefitted from sharing subject matter expertise during over 200 military-to-military engagements that help counter terrorism, deter violent extremism, expand emergency response capabilities, develop professionalism among leaders and staffs and promote shared values in national sovereignty and security.

The two organizations have made vital contributions to regional stability and security across Central and South Asia, executing bi-lateral and multi-lateral engagements with international partners; enhancing multinational understanding and shared values of peace, national sovereignty and global security.

Read more about the State Partnership Program and the VNG’s relationship with the Republic of Tajikistan at


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