AKIPRESS.COM - "The authorities in Turkmenistan are trying to compensate the decreasing number of Turkmen armed forces with the help of reservists in order to confront threats coming from Afghan extremists," according to the Chronicles of Turkmenistan.
At the same time, there are law-enforcement officers among adherents of non-traditional Islam, arrested in connection with “the Tejen case”.
According to the statistics obtained by the Chronicles of Turkmenistan, the number of young men of draft age will be declining in the coming years due to the demographic gap of the 90-s.
According to the information from the Defense Ministry, obtained in military enlistment offices, about 20 thousand young men, who have not completed military service, are residing outside the country. Half of them are doing a course of studies in foreign universities and colleges while the rest have jobs overseas. Neither of these groups is planning to return to their home country.
At the same time, the situation on the Turkmen-Afghan border is becoming more strained. The conclusions and forecasts made by analysts and experts from various countries are not comforting for Turkmenistan.
According to Turkmen military leaders, calling up reservists for military trainings, which have become more frequent, is designed to increase the headcount of the armed forces or, at least, retain it at the same level.
According to the Chronicles of Turkmenistan sources, the approximate headcount of the Turkmen army amounts to 75,000 people and is primarily made of conscripts.
Detentions and arrests of those practicing non-traditional Islam and having links with Afghan militants, as viewed by the investigation authorities, have been underway in Turkmenistan since February 2015. The arrests started in Tejen, located 200 km from Ashgabat, and at the moment they are taking place all across the country.
Over 400 people were involved in the investigation process- slightly less than 300 are being kept in pre-detention facilities and some of them have already been convicted. Those who had been interrogated by investigation officers and then had been released, were dismissed from work or were included in the list of those barred from travelling abroad. They are guilty only because they communicated were or were on friendly terms with those who were convicted.
As it turned out, there were quite a few representatives of law enforcement authorities among those against whom criminal charges had been brought. According to our sources, six officials from the National Security Ministry, some of them – from Ashgabat, nine policemen, including officers, were arrested. There are also employees of the Public Prosecutor’s office among detainees.
The authorities say that various movements of “non-traditional” Islam penetrated into the country some time ago. The number of people who have affiliation with these religious groups, officials and law enforcement officers among them, is increasing.
If the Turkmen authorities are capable of resisting the threat from Afghanistan in terms of the armed forces headcount, they have nothing to offer to residents in terms of ideology. People who have no goals in life and no opportunities for self-fulfillment are becoming an easy target for recruiters, who are willing to fill in this ideological gap.