Tajikistan

Overview:  Tajikistan has intensified counterterrorism efforts since the August 2021 Taliban takeover in Afghanistan, with which it shares an 843-mile border.  Tajikistan’s government asserts that northern Afghanistan is a primary source of terrorist activity and host to thousands of violent extremists.  Tajikistan’s primary concerns are with ISIS-K and Jamaat Ansarullah, which operates from Afghanistan and seeks to overthrow the Tajik government to establish an Islamic emirate.  In 2022 the U.S. government continued assistance to renovate and build border outposts and checkpoints along the Tajikistan-Afghanistan border and provided equipment and training to enhance Tajikistan’s border security and counterterrorism capabilities.

Tajikistan conducted more than 50 bilateral engagements with the U.S. Department of Defense during 2022.  The country participated in exercises with the United States and regional partners, including the U.S. Central Command-sponsored annual security exercise Regional Cooperation that Tajikistan hosted in August.  Tajikistan also took part in CT-focused exercises with Russia, other Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) member states, and the PRC.

Tajikistan cooperates with international organizations, such as the EU, the OSCE, and UN, on combating terrorism.  Tajikistan hosted a UN High-Level Counterterrorism Conference in October, on international border security and management cooperation.

2022 Terrorist Incidents:  ISIS-K publicly claimed that it fired seven Katyusha rockets from Afghanistan’s Takhar province May 7 and struck Tajik military facilities across the border.  According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MoIA), 31 terrorist actions were prevented in Tajikistan in 2022.

Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security:  The Parliament did not pass any new counterterrorism legislation in 2022.  Law enforcement authorities began implementing a new Law on Combating Terrorism, which was enacted in December 2021 and established the legal and organizational basis for counterterrorism operations in Tajikistan.

The MoIA stated that it arrested 365 members of terrorist or “extremist” organizations in 2022.  The MoIA stated that many members of terrorist or “extremist” organizations were arrested abroad and returned to Tajikistan, without specifying a number.  It did specify that 247 members of terrorist organizations or participants in hostilities abroad voluntarily repatriated to Tajikistan in 2022.

Tajikistan repatriated 146 associated family members of foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs) from northeastern Syria in July.  The government placed the 104 children and 42 women in a rehabilitation and reintegration program.

Countering the Financing of Terrorism:  Tajikistan is a member of the Eurasian Group on Combating Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism, and its FIU, the National Bank of Tajikistan’s (NBT’s) Financial Monitoring Department (FMD), is a member of the Egmont Group.  The government continued its efforts to improve the banking sector’s capacity to counter terrorist financing in 2022.  The MoIA reported 24 cases of terrorist financing in 2022.

The NBT-FMD website maintained a list of individuals and entities allegedly involved in terrorism, including those sanctioned under UNSC resolutions.  In 2022 the NBT’s list included opposition activists and journalists in exile.  The NBT also continued to operate a national money transfer center that centralized the receipt of remittances from abroad.  The NBT asserted that this system allowed it to monitor and regulate alternative remittance services, wire transfers, and non-profit organizations to prevent terrorist financing.

For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, see the 2022 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes.

Countering Violent Extremism:  In April, Tajikistan partnered with the UN Office on Counterterrorism to present the country’s 2021-25 CVE national strategy/action plan at UN Headquarters in New York.  The government invited the international community to contribute to the strategy and action plan in meetings throughout the year in Dushanbe.

Hedayah, an internationally backed CVE center of excellence, continued a project to assist Tajikistan with implementing its CVE National Action Plan and developing an effective communications strategy to counter the radicalization and recruitment of FTFs.

In August the Office of the Ombudsperson for Children’s Rights announced that the government was preparing the approximately 190 children repatriated from Iraq and Syria in 2019 and 2022 for reintegration into society.  The office underscored that authorities had hired specialists and psychologists to work with the children; Tajikistan received assistance from the non-governmental organization Green Light Project to train mental health practitioners who work with FTF-associated family members.

The government continued to place heavy restrictions on the political and religious expressions of groups it classifies as “extremist.”  Since 2015, Tajikistan has been designated a Country of Particular Concern (CPC) under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998.  It was redesignated a CPC in 2022.

International and Regional Cooperation:  UNODC conducted a series of seminars on managing violent extremists and returned FTFs in prison settings to Tajik law enforcement and prison authorities.  In July, UNODC provided capacity building training courses to State Committee for National Security Border Guard officials on countering terrorism and “radical extremism.”

In September the OSCE Program Office in Dushanbe trained Tajik government experts on the design and implementation of targeted financial sanctions pursuant to UNSCR 1267 against individuals and entities associated with ISIS, al-Qa’ida, and associated individuals and entities.  Representatives from the MoIA, NBT, the Prosecutor General’s Office, and the Agency on State Financial Control and the Fight Against Corruption participated.

Tajikistan participates in regional security arrangements such as the CSTO and the SCO.

Tajikistan’s government supports the C5+1, a diplomatic platform for coordination among the five Central Asian states plus the United States, and serves as co-chair of the C5+1 Security Working Group.

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