Tajikistan Authorities Arrest Parents of Citizens Abroad to Encourage Conscription

Local Tajik media has reported that several dozen parents of military-age males have been arrested in the Mogyian Community of Pankajent city. According to the publication Bomdod, since November 20th, fifteen people from the villages of Pushti Kurgan, Obi Borik, Puli Girdob, Foni Pass, Ghezan Square, Lower Ghezan, and Sor, were arrested and held in the Panjakent police station. Most of those arrested have been the fathers of young men who were then ordered to contact their sons and plea with them to return home and sign up for the military.

According to the report, these young men went to the Russian Federation and pursued work to avoid the conscription period, which occurs twice a year. The Fall Conscription period is from October 1st to November 30th, so authorities are claiming that these men went to Russia to avoid the military commissariats who have a history of rolling into villages and collecting military-age males by truck.

The report also stated that the Tajik government has reached 84% of its conscription quota. They broke the quota down by regions: 100% in the Badakhshan Mountainous Autonomous Region (4), 81% in Khatlon (3), 72% in Sughd (1), and 94% in the Districts of Republican Subordination (2). These villages are in the Sughd region, which has the lowest recruitment numbers and also borders the Russian Federation. According to anonymous sources within the Tajik military, the 2022 conscription goal was about 20,000.

Tajik men aged 18–27 are eligible to be drafted into the armed forces and are expected to serve up to two years. Public servants such as educators have been exempt from conscription since the early 2000s. The Armed Forces annually have two training sessions and keep an active duty force of 9,500 personnel. 

This has not been the first case of what the Tajiks call oblava, or the forced conscription off the street when young men are hauled off by military commissariats. The situation has become grimmer for Tajik men as the government has recently reduced the scope of conscription deferrals, even forcing students involved in advanced STEM work to be drafted. However, for those that can afford it, a 2,000 USD payment to authorities absolves a single man from being drafted into the military. Civilians in the villages outlined above claimed that the village elders who organized the parents’ arrests paid these sums to prevent their sons from being drafted.

The willingness of Tajik men to be conscripted has been impacted by unpopular government intervention in the Rushon area of Gorno-Badakhshan earlier this year, where dozens of civilians and security personnel were killed in clashes with former warlord Tolib Ayombekov. The Russian war in Ukraine and the Tajik government’s tacit approval of the Kremlin’s justification also impacted their citizen’s trust in their government, especially since the Russian 201st Motorized Rifle Division was re-deployed from its base in Dushanbe, the Tajik Capital.

This poses a significant problem for the Tajik government, which wishes to enhance its security posture on its southern border with Afghanistan and its eastern border with Kyrgyzstan.

 

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Ethan Alun
Ethan Alun
A United States Naval Academy and American Military University Alumni, Ethan covers flash military, intelligence, and geo-political updates.
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