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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

Amid tensions with Kyrgyzstan, FM distanced govt from provocative statement by police chief of Sughd region which prompted outcry in Kyrgyzstan (see Kyrgyzstan). Following mid-Jan joint protocol, Kyrgyz and Tajik joint working group 24 Feb reportedly agreed to swap 23 hectares of land along disputed border segment. International NGO Committee to Protect Journalists 6 Feb condemned arrest of journalist Daler Sharifov on charges of inciting ethnic or religious discord; Prosecutor-General 1 Feb accused Sharifov of publishing “more than 200 articles and notes of extremist content and nature aimed at inciting religious intolerance”. Prosecutor-General 28 Jan announced efforts to extradite four Tajikistani militants linked to Islamic State (ISIS) attacks and recruitment in Syria; marks first time govt has sought extradition of former fighters. U.S. Sec State Pompeo and all five Central Asian FMs met in Uzbekistan 3 Feb (see Uzbekistan).

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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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