DUSHANBE, March 28, 2014, Asia-Plus -- Tajik President Emomali Rahmon, who is also Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Tajikistan, has ordered to put an end to shanghaiing (forced conscription) practice.

The spring conscription campaign will be launched in Tajikistan on April 1.  During the spring conscription campaign, young Tajiks are drafted into the country’s armed forces from April through May 2014.  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 chief of the Organization-and-Mobilization Department at the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Tajikistan, Major-General Khoushvakht Mehrovarov, says the republican commission for organization of the spring conscription campaign will make an emphasis on carrying out an explanatory work among young draft-age men and their parents.

“We intend to change people’s negative attitude to military service,” Tajik defense official noted.  

The problem of “dedovshchina,” the often brutal hazing of new recruits by older soldiers, remains quite widespread in the Tajik national army and many draft-age young men seek migrant work in Russia to avoid military service while others try to obtain falsified certificates of service.  This situation has damaged the army’s ability to recruit and recruitment officers have been known to shanghai young men on the street and send them into army service.  

We will recall that President Emomali Rahmon in mid-May signed a decree on drafting young Tajiks into the country’s armed forces from April through May 2014.

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 in the autumn.

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.

Tajikistan''s armed forces consist of Land Forces, Mobile Forces, Air and Air Defense Forces, National Guard, and Security Forces (internal and border troops).