Tajik President Emomali Rahmon yesterday signed a decree on drafting young Tajiks into the country’s armed forces from April through May 2024, the Tajik president’s official website reports. 

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.

The same decree provides for the retirement from active duty of soldiers and sergeants whose service under conscription is over.

The Ministry of Health and Social Protection of the Population (MoHSPP) is tasked to provide specialists from medical facilities of Dushanbe to make medical examination of conscripts for the districts subordinate to the center.

Heads of cities and districts are responsible for organization of the conscription campaign, the website says.

Some sources say the usual annual conscription target in Tajikistan is some 15,000-16,000.

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 in the autumn.

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

Recall, amendments have been made to the country’s law on military service this year.  The amendments came into effect on February 4, 2021 and young men in Tajikistan who wish to forgo the military service may now do so by paying a fee to the government.  A one-month basic reserve service is organized for those who did not perform conscript service for a fee.  At the end of basic reserve service they receive military cards.

Besides, under the law on the universal military duty in new edition, graduates of universities having military department will also be drafted into the army for one year.

Only people who have done military service will be permitted to obtain employment with the government or join the army in a professional capacity.

Tajikistan’s armed forces consist of Ground Forces, Mobile Forces (paratroopers of the armed forces of Tajikistan), Air Force and Air Defense Force.

Many young men in Tajikistan try to avoid conscription.  One reason is that, as in many former Soviet countries, the Tajik Army is known for the brutal hazing of new recruits.  Potential recruits also fear being deployed to conflict zones.  Several soldiers were reported killed or wounded in recurring clashes along the Tajik-Kyrgyz border in recent years.  There are also overwhelming claims that the rich and powerful use their clout to get their sons out of military service -- leading to beliefs that conscription is only for the poor.  To avoid the army, many conscript-aged men move to Russia during the twice-a-year drafts in the spring and fall.  Some bribe doctors and enlistment officials to secure an exemption on medical grounds.