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

Authorities contended with aftermath of terrorist attack in Russia, and UK’s FM visited Tajikistan during regional tour.

Tajikistan continued to deal with aftermath of Moscow terrorist attack. By end of April, Russian authorities had detained twelve people in connection with March terrorist attack in capital Moscow, eleven of whom hail from Tajikistan. Senior Russian official Nikolai Patrushev 3 April claimed Ukraine’s embassy in capital Dushanbe was recruiting mercenaries to fight against Russia; foreign ministry 6 April dismissed allegation, saying it “has no basis”. FM Muhriddin 12 April criticised torture of four detained Tajik suspects and decried rising anti-Tajik sentiment in Russia. Meanwhile, Russia and Tajikistan 15-18 April held joint military exercises in southern Khatlon region, which borders Afghanistan, after sides late March pledged to intensify joint counterterrorism efforts. 

In important international developments. Uzbek President Mirziyaev 18-19 April visited Tajikistan, meeting with Rahmon and other high-level officials and signing slew of cooperation agreements. UK FM David Cameron 22 April embarked on five-day tour of region, beginning in Tajikistan; trip sought to deepen diplomatic and economic ties in region, and to address concerns about circumvention of sanctions on Russia. Defence minister 26 April attended regional forum Shanghai Cooperation Organization meeting in Kazakhstan amid efforts to boost military cooperation.

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