Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

Tajikistan's Reluctant Soldiers

By Sabohat Rustam











As the spring conscription round for Tajikistan’s armed services got under way, renewed calls were heard for alternative forms of service, and also for a shift to a professional enlisted force.

The case of Jovid Mamadkarimov, a resident of the southeastern Badakhshan region, who was hospitalised after being beaten up at a military conscription centre, has highlighted concerns about the mistreatment of soldiers.

Young men who have heard the horror stories about institutionalised bullying and mistreatment do everything they can to avoid being conscripted, for example by entering higher education or going abroad to work. Typically, it is the poorest – those with the least resources to evade service or for whom joining the army is more attractive than staying at home, who end up doing army service.

Aslambek Aslamov, deputy head of military conscription in Badakhshan, insists conditions in the army have got a lot better as a result of improved funding.

The audio programme, in Russian and Tajik, went out on national radio stations in Tajikistan, as part of IWPR project work funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.