Plagued by violence, corruption and economic hardship, and exposed to a long, insecure border with Afghanistan, Tajikistan is under dangerous stress. President Rahmon’s autocratic undermining of the 1997 peace agreement is fostering Islamic radicalisation. As Tajikistan’s growing fragility impacts a brittle region, the country must become a conflict-prevention priority.
01 June 2016
Taliban 1 May attacked Uzbek border post, from Balkh province, N Afghanistan.
Kyrgyzstan’s relative stability belies the country’s brittle Central Asian neighbourhood, simmering ethnic tensions, religious extremism and political frustration. Russia, the West and China share interests here, creating a unique opportunity to work together for Kyrgyzstan’s democratic development during and after the upcoming 4 October parliamentary elections.
Kazakhstan’s wish for stability and continuity under long-serving President Nazarbayev trumps the will for political change, especially given turbulence elsewhere on Russia’s borders. But without economic reform, full ethnic equality and a political succession plan, the Central Asian country risks becoming another brittle post-Soviet state vulnerable to external destabilisation.
The Islamic State (IS) is attracting Central Asians to
Syria and fostering new links among radicals within the region. Unless the five
Central Asian governments develop a credible, coordinated counter-action plan,
including improved security measures but also social, political and economic
reforms, growing radicalism will eventually pose a serious threat to their
Growing tensions in the Ferghana Valley are exacerbated by disputes over shared water resources. To address this, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan urgently need to step back from using water or energy as a coercive tool and focus on reaching a series of modest, bilateral agreements, pending comprehensive resolution of this serious problem.
China’s influence is growing rapidly in Central Asia at a time when the region is looking increasingly unstable.
Kyrgyzstan’s disregard for its Uzbek community is pushing the ethnic minority to a breaking point.
Tajikistan, Central Asia’s poorest state and a key logistical link for international forces in Afghanistan, faces a growing security threat from both local and external rebels.
Only a concerted effort from national governments, donors and the international community to modernise Central Asia’s infrastructure can avert the region’s decline into chaos.
False Calm after Elections in Kyrgyzstan
23 October 2010: Four months after violence against immigrants, Kyrgyzstan is forming a new government. How will this contribute to stability? Crisis Group’s Central Asia Project Director, Paul Quinn-Judge, tells us what's happening, and why. Listen
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