DUSHANBE, April 1, 2011, Asia-Plus -- The Tajik armed forces began their spring conscription campaign today.

Faridoun Mahmadaliyev, a spokesman for the Ministry of Defense (MoD), says a republican commission has been set up to coordinate activities of appropriate ministries, bodies and local authorities on organizing and carrying out the spring conscription campaign.  Deputy Prime Minister Ruqiya Qurbonova heads the commission.

Chairpersons of cities and districts are to organize current recruitment campaign, the spokesman said, noting that the MoD will regularly inform media outlets of the conscription campaign process.

According to the MoD, every year, some 15,000-16,000 young Tajik men are drafted into the country’s armed forces.

Some sources say there are more than 600,000 young men of call-up age in Tajikistan, but some 150,000 of them have received draft deferments or are exempted from the military service and some 100,000 other conscript-age young Tajiks are outside the country in search of a living.

We will recall that President Emomali Rahmon signed a decree on the spring conscription campaign in Tajikistan on March 16.  The same decree provides for the retirement from active duty of soldiers and sergeants whose service under conscription is over.  Young Tajiks are drafted into the country’s armed forces from April through May 2011.  The draft affects able-bodied male citizens in the age bracket of 18 years old to 27 years old, who are not members of the armed forces reserve.