Last Updated: Friday, 27 May 2016, 08:49 GMT

Tajik Army Runs Short of Men

Publisher Institute for War and Peace Reporting
Author Tojinisso Faizullobekova
Publication Date 18 April 2012
Cite as Institute for War and Peace Reporting, Tajik Army Runs Short of Men, 18 April 2012, available at: [accessed 28 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Military recruitment officers in eastern Tajikistan say there are so few young men left that for the first time ever, they may not meet their annual conscription quota.

As the spring call-up gets under way in Badakhshan and in the rest of the country, experts say one reason for the shortage of conscription-age men is that hundreds of thousands of Tajikistan nationals are working abroad in Russia and other countries.

The average age of labour migrants is falling, so that young men now set off abroad straight after school, with a poor knowledge of Russian and no real awareness of their rights and entitlements. Many will never have travelled outside their own area before.

"The low standard of living in mountain areas is the basic problem," Diyor Mamadbekov, a local police investigator, said. "Once they leave secondary school, these lads are forced to go off to Russia as labour migrants."

Others were deterred by stories of routine bullying in the Tajik military, he said, insisting that this kind of abuse had now been rooted out.

The shortage of young men aged around 20 can also be explained by a demographic gap caused by low birth rates during the 1992-97 civil war.

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

Copyright notice: © Institute for War & Peace Reporting

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