Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 144

Tajik President Imomali Rahmonov issued on July 24 and 25 two unprecedented decrees aimed at tightening military discipline. The first decree gives the Defense, Internal Affairs and State Security ministries a deadline of two months for (1) drawing up inventories of arms and military equipment in their possession, (2) compiling lists of identification cards of these ministries’ military personnel and (3) establishing the record of licenses issued to civilians to possess and carry arms and ammunition. The same decree instructs the government to draw up a concept of civic education of the troops within three months. Likewise it calls on the three “force” ministries to produce a concept of political training of their troops, as well as a draft national security concept and a draft military doctrine, within six months.

The second decree orders the three “force” ministries to “restore order and discipline” among their personnel manning checkpoints and patrols on public roads. The personnel will henceforth be “severely punished for misdemeanors committed while on duty,” the decree warns. It refers to “numerous complaints and petitions from the people” concerning misconduct of government troops. (Radio Dushanbe, July 24 and 25)

The two decrees amount to a devastating, long-overdue admission of chaos and lawlessness in the ranks of government forces. Last week, four UN observers were murdered near positions held by government troops. Rahmonov responded by dismissing two first deputy defense ministers and officially reprimanding the defense minister and the deputy prime minister responsible for the “force” ministries. (See the Monitor, July 25-26)–VS