“In Afghanistan, which has a long border, historical, cultural, linguistic, religious and traditional commonality with Tajikistan, the Taliban terrorist movement returned to power in Afghanistan on August 15, 2021 as a result of a deal between the major players in the region and an unprecedented ethnic alliance,” says an article posted the Sangar website on February 23.  This situation cannot but causes serious concern to ethnic Tajiks living in this country and to Tajikistan. 

After twenty years of the presence of the armed forces of the United States and allied countries (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) in Afghanistan to fight Al Qaeda and the Taliban, an agreement was finally signed between the USA and Taliban in Qatar on February 29, 2020, the purpose of which was presented as the first step towards achieving peace among the peoples of Afghanistan.   

The article by Farid Ahmad, entitled “Taliban and Terrorism, or Tajikistan in the Neighborhood of Dangers”,  notes that Tajikistan's position in connection with the occupation of Afghanistan by the Taliban was known from the first days after the Taliban returned to power in the country.

This position was reportedly emphasized by Tajikistan’s highest leadership and the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs always recalls this position.

“It should be said that Tajikistan does not interfere in the internal affairs of a neighboring country, at the same time it has clearly expressed its concern about the growing threat to the security of the state from the territory of this neighboring country, the article says, noting that Tajikistan is the only country in Central Asia that “took a firm, correct stand against what happened in Afghanistan in August [2021], that is, the occupation of that country by the Taliban terrorist group…”

Tajik leader reportedly clearly proposed the establishment of an inclusive government in Afghanistan with the participation of representatives of all ethnic groups living there, “including Tajiks, who make up more than 46%.”

The article further notes that the complexity of the international political situation, aggravation of the geopolitical and military situation, security threats, financial and economic crises, as well as the shortage of food and drinking water in the world and the region and their consequences “force us to take necessary measures in promoting Tajikistan's foreign policy.”

The long border with Afghanistan and the intensification of terrorist groups in the territory of this country force Tajikistan to take serious measures to ensure its state security.  “History has proven that one can never rely on outside observers to ensure state security and protect national interests,” the article emphasizes.

“An Islamic system with a very radical ideology has been built in Tajikistan's neighborhood. The Taliban* adopted the radical interpretation of the Devband law school and mixed it with their tribal traditions, which is an unprecedented phenomenon in the Islamic world,” says the article.  “Afghan Taliban has become a stronghold of terrorist and extremist groups, one of the centers of power of extremism and poses a threat to the system of secularism and peace of all countries in the region.”

The article notes that there is also an opinion among some experts that the Taliban is an Afghan movement and their goal is to revive the “Taliban Islamic Emirate” and they do not pose any threat to neighboring countries that is they do not participate in the so-called “global” jihad, etc.

Other experts reportedly provide convincing evidence, analyzing the existing threats from the Taliban to other countries, including Tajikistan.  

According to the article, the usurpation of power in Afghanistan by this movement has significantly reduced the standard of living and quality of life of the people.  

Mr. Qosimsho Iskandarov, the head of the Dushanbe-based Center for Afghanistan and the Region Studies, notes that “although the Taliban promises that there is no threat from Afghanistan to any country, especially its neighbors, about 25-30-armed terrorist groups can cause concern and worry.”

“The Taliban pose a serious threat to our national security.  At this danger may not be felt so strongly, but it is clear that the rise of this extremist group to power in Afghanistan and their presence in our immediate surroundings will not be safe,” says the article.  “Superpowers pursue their geostrategic interests through the Taliban,” says the article.  “The Taliban, in turn, can pose problems to the sovereign, democratic, legal, secular and united Tajikistan.”  

Recall, Russian Defense Minister stated on February 27 at a meeting on the occasion of the Special Operations Forces Day that the situation in the Central Asian region remains complex.  According to the minister, the greatest threat comes from the territory of Afghanistan.  “Over the past year, the number of the ISIS militants increased by 15%” said Shoigu.  “Their main goal is to spread radical ideology and conduct subversive activities on the southern borders of the CSTO.”  At the same time, a nearly 20% increase in drug production and, consequently, drug trafficking through the Central Asian nations is expected.