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Tajikistan is tightly controlled by President Emomali Rahmon and a complex system of patronage and political repression are the hallmarks of his rule. The government’s elimination of moderate Islamic opposition risks creating an opening for violent jihadists and the country faces growing instability along its southern border with conflict-plagued Afghanistan. Through field research, analytical reports and advocacy, Crisis Group aims to mitigate Tajikistan’s internal and external threats and inform national and regional stakeholders about the risk of political instability and radicalisation in the face of government policies.

CrisisWatch Tajikistan

Unchanged Situation

Following Taliban’s takeover of major Afghan cities, country faced influx of Afghan military aircraft and forces; meanwhile, border tensions with Kyrgyzstan persisted. Presidents of five Central Asian states – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan – 6 Aug met in Turkmenbashi city, Turkmenistan, to discuss range of issues, including regional cooperation and “earliest possible settlement of the situation in neighboring Afghanistan”. Kyrgyz, Russian and Tajik armed forces 10 Aug concluded joint military exercises close to Afghan border, held amid “threat of penetration of radical terrorist groups into the border countries of the Central Asian region”. Following Taliban’s seizure of major Afghan cities including capital Kabul (see Afghanistan), reports mid-month surfaced that dozens of Afghan military aircraft and hundreds of soldiers crossed borders into Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan; following talks with Pakistan FM Shah Mahmood Qureshi, President Rahmon 25 Aug called for “inclusive [Afghan] government with the participation of all ethnic minorities, especially the Tajiks of Afghanistan”. Meanwhile, Kyrgyz border force 23 Aug announced officials held talks with Tajik counterparts in Kyrgyzstan’s Batken region to discuss new flare-up; talks held following incident in which unknown individuals attacked Kyrgyz cars when reports surfaced that Tajik authorities had begun construction work at disputed Golovnoi water facility, scene of deadly escalation in April; construction reportedly halted after talks. Delegation to Tajik-Uzbek border demarcation commission 24-29 Aug held talks with Uzbek counterparts. Ahead of 30-year anniversary of country’s independence on 9 Sept, President Rahmon 30 Aug proposed amnesty for some 16,000 people, including prisoners and those suspected or accused of crimes.
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Report / Europe & Central Asia

Water Pressures in Central Asia

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.

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