KHUJAND, April 7, 2011, Asia-Plus -- First group of conscripts from Sughd province was sent to military units in the south of the country on April 6.

Sughd recruitment officer Sharif Azizov says they are the first 400 conscripts from the province, most of them are volunteers.  “After taking training course, all of them will serve in regular Border Guard units,” Azizov said.

He refrained from saying how many young men will be drafted from Sughd province during the spring conscription campaign.

The Tajik armed forces began their spring conscription campaign on April 1.  According to the Ministry of Defense, every year, some 15,000-16,000 young Tajik men are drafted into the country’s armed forces.  The two-month-long effort seeking to enlist young men aged 18-27 for the two-year compulsory military service takes place twice a year, in the spring and fall.

Some sources say more than 600,000 young men in Tajikistan are eligible for military service, 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.

Young Tajiks can avoid or postpone military service if they are ill, studying at university, an only son, or if they have two children.

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.