Press ganging in Tajikistan
Tajikistan, with a shortage of young men due to labor migration and a military with a bad reputation for hazing, appears to have resorted to an age-old solution: press ganging. Reports IWPR:
Muhammadsharif Hamdamov, from the Matcha district of northern Tajikistan, said his nephew Mirzojon was picked up when an army recruitment squad raided the village of Buston, where he was working as a teacher.
Relatives tried in vain to persuade the military authorities to free Mirzojon, since he is simultaneously taking a university course and should not be called up before graduation.
Even the intervention of regional education officials, struggling to retain teaching staff in rural areas, failed to change things. “No one even listened to them,” said Hamdamov.
University student Rustam told how his friend Jurabek Hollov, studying journalism in Khujand, was picked up and spirited away in a manner reminiscent of abduction. Hollov was stopped by a recruitment squad while on the way to university for a routine identity check.
He was held incommunicado for five days until he was brought together with other conscripts on May 25 for dispersal to their units, and managed to call Rustam from a borrowed mobile phone.
Rustam rushed to the military office, but was prevented from seeing his friend.
“I was able to see him from a distance, and his hair had already been shaved off,” said Rustam. “I haven’t heard from him since.”
It's hard to imagine these soldiers being worth much to the army; this "solution" here seems worse than the recruiting problem.