The defense was severely cut after the dissolution of the Soviet Union and was partly reorganized during ongoing unrest. In 2006, a military co-operation agreement was signed with the Russian Federation.
The defense is based on general military duty with 24 months of service. It comprises (2008) 8,800 men and is organized into an army of 7,300 men with four brigades and a smaller air force of 1,500 men with four combat helicopters. Semi-military security forces amount to 7,500 men. The material is of Soviet origin and semi-modern.
Defense spending amounted to 11% of GDP in 1996 due to internal turmoil, but in 2006 it had decreased to 2.7% of GDP. The Russian Federation has a division of 5,500 men with support for five attack aircraft in Tajikistan. To see related acronyms about this country, please check ABBREVIATIONFINDER where you can see that TJK stands for Tajikistan. India has an advanced air base and France has an airplane with two transport aircraft.
Tajikistan’s foreign policy
Tajikistan’s foreign policy is characterized by relations with Russia, since Tajikistan was part of the Soviet Union federation from 1924 to 1991. Also important are neighboring countries China and Afghanistan, as well as the United States. In 2002, Tajikistan joined NATO’s military cooperation program Partnership for Peace.
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Following the terrorist attack on the United States on September 11, 2001, three aircraft bases were made available to the United States during the war in Afghanistan.
However, Russia was still Tajikistan’s most important security policy partner. In the period 2004-2006, Russian troops ended their guarding of Tajikistan’s border with Afghanistan after more than 70 years. The guard will then be provided by Tajikistan’s own forces, but with Russian command and financial and other support from Russia and Western countries. Russia and the West have a common interest here in curbing a massive drug smuggling from Afghanistan. A large Russian peacekeeping force has also remained in Tajikistan since the civil war, including a division based outside the capital Dushanbe.
Tajikistan has also signed a number of agreements with China to resolve old border conflicts.
The Republic of Tajikistan is one of the most fragile pawns in the entire Central Asian geopolitical chessboard. A combination of authoritarianism, poverty and energy shortages contributes to the instability of an area of strong strategic importance. Enclosed between Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, China and Kyrgyzstan, the country became independent of the Soviet Union in 1991 and was marked until 1996 by a tragic civil war between Islamic rebels and Moscow-backed government forces.
Emomali Rahmon has been in power for more than twenty years, reconfirmed at the helm of the country in the November 2013 elections. The elections, defined by the OECD as “non-free and non-transparent”, have entrusted Rahmon with another seven-year mandate that it will allow him to remain at the helm of the country until 2020. Although the political system is formally multi-party, the main formations other than Rahmon’s People’s Democratic Party are systematically repressed. The most structured, however, are the Social Democratic Party (PSD) and the Islamic Renaissance Party (PRI). The latter, however, was declared an ‘extremist and terrorist organization’ by the Supreme Court in September 2015 and banned. In 2015, following the worsening of the economic situation,
The need to maintain regional stability and security in an area of strong strategic importance, exposed to the dangers of Islamic fundamentalism, guarantees the firm support of the United States, Russia and China for Rahmon’s Tajikistan. For the USA, Tajikistan remains a key country for managing the Afghan transition: it is no coincidence that it is part of the Northern Distribution Network, the logistic supply corridor for troops operating in Kabul, and which was used in the opposite direction to complete the NATO withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2014. For Russia, Tajikistan, in addition to being a former ‘backyard’, constitutes a barrier against radical Islamism and drug trafficking that thrive along the porous border with Afghanistan. Russia also it hosts almost one and a half million Tajiks within its borders. They make up about 50% of the Tajik workforce, generating most of the remittances, which represent a key item of national revenue (about 47% of GDP in 2014). The slowdown of the Russian economy between 2014 and 2015 caused a drastic reduction in this flow, thereby also damaging the Tajik economy. The Russian Federation is also the main guarantor of Tajik national security. Moscow is present in the country with the 201th Motor Rifle division, housed in a military base 50 kilometers from the capital Dushanbe. The slowdown of the Russian economy between 2014 and 2015 caused a drastic reduction in this flow, thereby also damaging the Tajik economy. The Russian Federation is also the main guarantor of Tajik national security. Moscow is present in the country with the 201th Motor Rifle division, housed in a military base 50 kilometers from the capital Dushanbe. The slowdown of the Russian economy between 2014 and 2015 caused a drastic reduction in this flow, thereby also damaging the Tajik economy. The Russian Federation is also the main guarantor of Tajik national security. Moscow is present in the country with the 201th Motor Rifle division, housed in a military base 50 kilometers from the capital Dushanbe.
Finally, for China, in addition to being one of the main investment destinations, the country represents a guarantee to preserve the Xinjiang region from dangerous terrorist infiltrations. The territorial disputes of Tajikistan with Uzbekistan and the Republic of Kyrgyzstan, provoked by the Soviet tripartition of the Fergana Valley and never completely resolved, still weigh on the regional balances. Tensions with neighboring Uzbekistan have been generated by the Tajik expansion project of its hydroelectric plant along the border.