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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

Upper legislative chamber 17 April elected Rustam Emomali, son of President Rahmon, as their chair, second-highest govt office; move comes as country prepares for presidential elections scheduled for 2020. State media 9 April reported Supreme Court’s decision to block independent news website Akhbor on grounds it allegedly offered platform to “terrorists and extremists”. Court 16 April sentenced journalist Daler Sharifov to one year in prison following late Jan arrest on charges of inciting ethnic and religious discord. Russian govt 3 April said over half a million Tajik labour migrants were stranded in Russia following COVID-19-related border closures; President Putin 18 April signed decree temporarily lifting requirements for migrants to renew work permits and permitting workers to stay in Russia without extending residency registration. World Health Organization’s local representative in capital Dushanbe 1 April confirmed all COVID-19 tests conducted in Tajikistan were negative but 22 April said it was impossible to confirm absence of COVID-19, citing restricted diagnostic and treatment capacity; Tajik authorities 30 April confirmed country had fifteen registered cases; late April temporarily closed schools, banned mass-attendance events and suspended exports of grain.

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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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