I recently undertook a project of writing a series of op-eds for another website, Legationes, on the countries of Central Asia….I began with the nation of Tajikistan……
Source: Inside Tajikistan | Legationes
Tajikistan still has an authoritarian leader and he is having a hard time trying to prevent the rise of fundamentalists which could threaten his power base…..in a report by the Crisis Group an analysis of the country’s problems…..
Given its problems, Tajikistan should be a conflict-prevention priority for the international community. While pragmatic engagement should focus on preventing further repression and encouraging an orderly transition when Rahmon’s term ends in 2020, the risks in sustaining a frightened autocrat with no interest in a credible political process must be factored in. Under the weight of economic crisis and political stagnation, the state may continue weakening, perhaps with little impact beyond its borders, but its internal and external fragility might also lead to instability that would resonate in the broader region. The border weaknesses increase Tajikistan’s potential as a staging post for Islamic militants with ambitions elsewhere in Central Asia. The Uzbek border is relatively strong but that with Kyrgyzstan is much weaker.
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.
Source: Tajikistan Early Warning: Internal Pressures, External Threats – International Crisis Group
A nearly two-decade-old peace agreement that ended Tajikistan’s civil war is quickly unravelling and threatening to plunge Central Asia’s poorest country back into violence, a new report warns.
A ban by the government of hard-line President Emomali Rahmon on the opposition Renaissance Party of Tajikistan (IRPT) – widely considered moderate – has caused growing concern both within and outside the country.
In an attempt stem off the rise of fundamentalism the Tajik leader, Rahmon, is taking to some extreme measures……
Police in Tajikistan have shaved nearly 13,000 people’s beards and closed more than 160 shops selling traditional Muslim clothing last year as part of the country’s fight against what it calls “foreign” influences.
Bahrom Sharifzoda, the head of the south-west Khathlon region’s police, said at a press conference on Wednesday that the law enforcement services convinced more than 1,700 women and girls to stop wearing headscarves in the Muslim-majority Central Asian country.
The move is seen as part of efforts to battle what authorities deem “radicalism”
Tajikistan’s secular leadership has long sought to prevent an overspill of what it sees as unwelcome traditions from neighboring Afghanistan. The country’s parliament voted to ban Arabic-sounding “foreign” names.
The legislation is expected to be approved by President Emomali Rahmon, who has taken steps to promote secularism and discourage beliefs and practices that he sees as foreign or a threat to the stability of Tajikistan, Radio Liberty said.
If “radicalism” is to be controlled and/or stamped out then authoritarianism could be the only answer…….this is probably unacceptable to the world…..but it may be the only answer short of a massively destructive prolonged conflict……