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Russia, China Dividing Responsibilities in Tajikistan: Is Conflict Possible? (Paul Globe, The Jamestown Foundation)

Street clashes in Tajikistan’s Gorno-Badakhshan region have quieted down at least for the present, but in their wake, geopolitical competition there has, if anything, increased. Russia and China are assuming an ever more active role for at least three reasons: 1) the region’s location on the Tajikistani-Afghan border, 2) the weakness of Dushanbe in that impoverished portion of the country, and 3) fears in both capitals about flows of drugs and militants out of Afghanistan to the north and east (see EDM, November 30; Ozodi.org, November 30). Indeed, the roles of Russian and Chinese forces have grown so much in the last several months that one Moscow-based analyst recently suggested the two outside powers are now “dividing” Tajikistan amongst themselves or at least splitting responsibility for ensuring that that Tajikistan does not follow Afghanistan and the Pamirs into chaos. Their presence, the expert contends, represents a new “great game,” with new players but many of the same “old” risks (Vzglyad, December 1).

Russia, China Dividing Responsibilities in Tajikistan: Is Conflict Possible? – Jamestown