Overview: In 2014, Tajikistan continued to address weaknesses in its counterterrorism strategy. Marginalizing violent Islamist extremist groups in Tajik society was the main focus of the Tajik government's counterterrorism policies. Tajikistan sought to increase military and law enforcement capacity to conduct tactical operations through bilateral and multilateral assistance programs, including with the United States. The United States, Russia, Japan, and the EU provided funding for border security programs.

The biggest change in Tajikistan's security environment has been the acknowledgment that roughly 300 Tajik citizens are allegedly fighting against government forces in Syria and Iraq, and of the threat they could pose if and when they return. The Tajik government reported the threat of militants returning from foreign conflict zones increased in 2014, due to the drawdown of international troops in Afghanistan and the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant's success in attracting recruits from Tajikistan's Sughd and Khatlon regions, as well as among the migrant laborer population in Russia. Tajik government reporting indicated many Tajik militants brought their families with them to Syria.

Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: The Tajik government prosecutes terrorists under the Laws on Combating Terrorism, Anti-Money Laundering, Currency Regulation, and Notary; and the Criminal Code of the Republic of Tajikistan. Resource constraints, corruption, lack of training for law enforcement and border security officials, and general capacity issues continued to plague the Tajik government's ability to interdict possible terrorists. Tajik law enforcement bodies lacked sufficient interagency cooperation and information sharing capabilities.

Tajikistan continued to make progress in improving border security with bilateral and multilateral assistance, although effectively policing the Tajikistan/Afghanistan border was a difficult task requiring more resources and capabilities than were available to the Tajik government. The interagency Secretariat, established by the Tajik government in 2013, met regularly throughout the year to coordinate implementation of Tajikistan's 2010 National Border Management Strategy. The International Organization for Migration and the OSCE worked to improve travel document security. The OSCE also provided funding to link Tajikistan's existing passport data scanners at airports and land ports of entry to the Interpol database. Tajikistan continued to participate in the Department of State's Antiterrorism Assistance (ATA) program, and Tajik security forces received training related to border security practices and counterterrorism investigations. In addition, the Border Management Program in Central Asia and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime worked to improve border infrastructure, promote inter-agency cooperation, provide direct training, and expand training capacity in Tajikistan.

In the first 11 months of 2014, the Ministry of Internal Affairs reported opening 12 cases against individuals charged with terrorism, 181 cases against individuals charged with supporting or promoting terrorism, 109 cases against individuals supporting or promoting extremism, and 46 cases against individuals charged with extremism. The Ministry of Internal Affairs also reported the successful prosecution of six Jamaat Ansarullah members for participating in a 2010 police station bombing. The Ministry of Internal Affairs reported having disrupted seven planned attacks in 2014. In July, the Ministry of Internal Affairs reported the arrest of a group which allegedly planned to bomb the Tajik Aluminum Company's refinery, as well as the city hall, prosecutor's office, and police headquarters in the nearby city of Tursunzoda. On October 18, the Ministry of Internal Affairs told media outlets it had arrested 20 militants in the northern Spitamen region planning to attack a police station, seize weapons, and blow up the Shahriston and Istiqlol tunnels connecting Dushanbe and Khujand.

Corruption in the judicial system and misuse of counterterrorism statutes to suppress political opposition hampered the effectiveness of the government's counterterrorism efforts.

Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Tajikistan is a member of the Eurasian Group on Combating Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism (EAG), a Financial Action Task Force (FATF)-style regional body. In May, FATF reported Tajikistan had amended portions of its legislation pertaining to money laundering and financial crimes, bringing its laws closer to compliance with international recommendations. At its June plenary session in Moscow, the EAG removed Tajikistan from the enhanced follow-up process and placed it under regular follow-up, meaning the group saw sufficient progress in the country's amendments to its criminal code regarding anti-money laundering. The EAG took an additional step at its November meeting to further upgrade Tajikistan's status by placing it on the common monitoring list.

Similarly, the FATF recognized Tajikistan, along with several other nations, during its October meeting in Paris "...for the significant progress made in addressing the strategic anti-money laundering/counterterrorist finance (AML/CFT) deficiencies earlier identified by the FATF..." Due to this progress, FATF removed Tajikistan from its monitoring process, although Tajikistan will continue to work with the organization to further strengthen its AML/CFT structures.

In 2014, Tajik courts sentenced seven people on charges of money laundering and sentenced one person on charges of terrorist financing. Law enforcement officials seized US $20,400 in a money laundering case.

There is no publicly available information with regard to length of time to freeze or any estimates of the amount of assets frozen or seized, but FATF has declared Tajikistan is in compliance with its definition of "Ability to Freeze Terrorist Assets without Delay."

For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, see the 2014 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.

Regional and International Cooperation: Tajikistan is an active member of the OSCE, where it focuses on border security issues, and is also a member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). In August, Tajikistan participated with SCO partner nations in the Peace Mission 2014 counterterrorism-focused military exercises held in China.

Countering Radicalization to Violence and Violent Extremism: Stemming violent extremism and radicalization in Tajikistan is a top priority for the Tajik government. The Tajik government seeks primarily to control radical messaging by selectively blocking social media sites, rather than issuing a counter-narrative. Many of the government's measures, however, have had a negative impact on religious freedoms, including prohibiting children under 18 from attending mosque or other public religious services and banning women from worshiping in mosques. We refer you to the Department of State's Annual Report to Congress on International Religious Freedom (http://www.state.gov/j/drl/irf/rpt/index.htm) for further information.


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