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.
Four Central Asian states – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan – have argued over their water resources since the collapse of the Soviet Union. At times these disputes have seemed to threaten war. The forthcoming presidential summit in Astana can help banish that spectre.
Authorities accused of limiting space for govt critics and monitors, while court sentenced seven Tajik citizens for Nov 2019 Islamic State deadly attack. Court in capital Dushanbe 14 July sentenced seven Tajik citizens to prison terms of up to 27 years for deadly Nov 2019 Islamic State attack on Tajik border post south west of Dushanbe that killed two security personnel and fifteen militants. After authorities 25 June detained without charge Asroriddin Rozikov, son of imprisoned senior member of banned Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan, NGO Human Rights Watch 9 July condemned “arbitrary” detention as “part of intensified efforts by Tajik authorities to spread fear among perceived govt critics and peaceful dissidents everywhere”. Austrian Supreme Court early July retrospectively invalidated extradition of Tajik activist Hizbullo Shovalizoda in March; Shovalizoda, now in Tajikistan, was 10 June sentenced to 20 years in prison on extremism charges. Govt mid-July rejected mandate extension of two leading Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe officials; UN special rapporteur for freedom of speech 10 July condemned govt’s decision as effort “to shield themselves from well-deserved criticism and monitoring”. Govt 29 July said it will provide one-time financial allowance ($40) for 488,000 people with social and financial needs to help alleviate impact of COVID-19.
The prevailing calm in Gorno-Badakhshan in Tajikistan's remote east does not rule out the prospect of a clash between local powerbrokers and Dushanbe authorities. To mitigate the risks of a local flare-up and regional power rivalry, China and Russia should communicate with each other and nudge President Rahmon toward a smooth transition of power.
With his seven-year term set to end in 2020, uncertainty is growing over whether Tajikistan’s long-time ruler President Rahmon will handpick a successor or continue his reign. Growing troubles at home and abroad ensure both scenarios are fraught with risk and must be managed prudently, lest the country become another source of regional disorder.
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.
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.
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.
Originally published in Internationale Politik
Originally published in New Eastern Europe
Originally published in Esglobal