Tajikistan is a former USSR republic located in the southern part of the Central Asian region. The state, most of which is covered by rough terrain, borders with Afghanistan. After the fall of the USSR, Tajikistan faced a civil war, which lasted from 1992 to 1997.
In the post-USSR period, Tajikistan appeared in one of the worst situation among all former USSR republics. Its economy was depredating and a number of social problem in the country was rapidly growing.
The spread of radical ideologies from Afghanistan is another factor influencing the internal situation in Tajikistan. While in the previous decade, one of the key player spreading own ideology was the Taliban, recently, ISIS propagandists have also intensified their efforts.
On January 28, Russian Interior Minister Igor Zubov said that unidentified helicopters are redeploying large numbers of ISIS members from Pakistan to Afghanistan’s border with Tajikistan. Zubov added that it’s highly likely that large-scale provocations are being prepared in the area in order to trigger a humanitarian crisis and destabilize the situation near the Russian southern border. In other words, the interior minister said that a civil war might start in Tajikistan.
According to the Russian non-governmental organization “Federation of Migrants”, 1.745m Tajik citizens entered Russia in the period from January to September 2018. It should be noted that the real level of labor migration to Russia from Tajikistan is much higher than the provided numbers.
The total population of Tajikistan is 8.574m. 5.498 of them are in the age group from 14yo to 65yo [2.723 – men; 2.775 – women]. If we take into account that labor migrants are often 18-45yo men, it will appear that about a half of Tajikistan’s working-age population is in Russia. Most of them believe that the regime of President Emomali Rahmon is responsible for the current complicated economic and social situation in their homeland.
This could be compared to the situation in Uzbekistan. According to the very same data, 3.4m Uzbek citizens entered Russia in the period from January to September 2018. However, the population of Uzbekistan is 4 times higher than those of Tajikistan – 32.39m.
Tajikistan is one of the points, which could negatively affect regional security in the Central Asia. Cells of the Taliban and ISIS expanded their presence within the country in 2018. The main reasons are the complicated social and economic situation, which is a result of the approaches being employed by the current government as well as the common economic doldrums in the region. If the situation develops further in the same direction in 2019, this country could become a new hot spot in the region.