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December 17th, 2020

Tajikistan Peace Agreement

Some groups and individuals felt that the benefits of the peace agreement were insufficient and therefore did not comply with the terms of the General Agreement. Nor should we underestimate the influence of criminal networks, because peace is not really desirable for them. Russia and China have more cards, but have so far decided not to play them. As the main external power in Tajikistan, Russia has a strong interest in securing the afghanistan-Tajikistan border and ensuring that Tajikistan is not a victim of jihadist violence. However, despite occasional signs of impatience, Moscow tolerates Rahmon, even if only for lack of a viable alternative. [fn] Crisis Group Briefing, Tajikistan Early Warning, Op. Hide Footnote China, which holds more than half of the country`s debt and wants to protect its growing economic wealth, is also concerned about Afghanistan and has therefore stepped up security cooperation with Tajikistan. [fn] On August 31, 2017, at a meeting in Beijing, Rahmon and Chinese President Xi Jinping signed a “comprehensive strategic partnership,” including an information exchange agreement. Christian Shepherd and Tom Hogue, “Tajikistan accepts more intelligence exchanges with China,” Reuters, September 1, 2017. See also, Crisis Group Europe and Central Asia Report No. 245, Central Asia`s Silk Road Rivalries, July 27, 2017.Hide Footnote Above all, China is trying to combat Islamic extremism, separatism or terrorism in its restive autonomous region of Xinjiang, bordering Tajikistan and a small ethnic minority in Tajikistan.

Despite these interests, Russia and China are even rarer than Western powers to push for sound political or institutional reform. The political elites around Rahmon certainly benefited the most from the agreement. The peace dividend for the former UTO was limited. The agreement ended direct violence and began a transition. The international community, the United Nations and the OSCE initially supported the transition process, but have not been sufficiently engaged – particularly since 2001 – and may have defined the wrong parameters and incentives for “peace-building” as such. Anger in Rahmon`s loyalist core is a signal of tension in the politically peripheral regions of Tajikistan. Any perception that President Rahmon`s power is about to weaken could prompt regions wary of Dushanbe`s central power – such as the eastern part of Rasht and the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast (GBAO) hill – to take further steps towards autonomy. Rasht has long been known for his distrust of Dushanbe`s authority.

Former members of Tajik`s Unified Opposition (UTO) used force against Doujanb`s efforts to impose their violence, leading to the killing of Tajik security forces and military personnel. [fn] Europe and Central Asia Crisis Group Report 162, Tajikistan: towards failure, 12 February 2009; Crisis Group Europe and Central Asia Report No.205, Tajikistan: The Changing Insurgent Threats, 24 May 2011. The UTO fought the government during the civil war that began in 1992, but signed a peace agreement in 1997. [fn] Kirgizbek Kanunov, “Riots in Tajikistan Gbao stokes fears of wider destabilization,” The Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst, 4 June 2014.Hide Footnote The government has also failed to hire field commanders who do not accept the 1997 peace agreement.

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