Reports of the emergence of the Tajikistan Taliban Movement (TTM) in northern Afghanistan has come to the fore, sources confirmed to Afghanistan International.
According to AI sources, TTM recruits Tajik citizens and seeks to overthrow the government of Emomali Rahmon.
AI sources said that TTM has around 200 fighters.
Before the collapse of Afghanistan in 2021, the Tajik militants fought in the ranks of the Taliban, but under the Taliban reign, the TTM members settled in several districts in Badakhshan province in the northeast of Afghanistan on the border of Tajikistan.
According to Al sources, the Tajik militants operate under the banner of Jamaat-e Ansarullah, a banned terrorist organization by Russia.
Observers believe that the TTM competes with the Islamic State-Khurasan (IS-K), which has many Tajik citizens in its ranks.
According to AI sources, the Tajik fighters of Jamaat-e Ansarullah, act as the border guards of the Afghan Taliban in Badakhshan province. The emergence of the TTM has reportedly increased concerns of the Tajik authorities.
According to AI sources, in recent days, the TTM fighters have built a watch tower near the border with Tajikistan for surveillance purposes of the territory of Tajikistan.
According to reports, Mahdi Arsalan - the pseudonym of Muhammad Sharipov, from the Nurobod district of Tajikistan, is the leader of the TTM under the Taliban. Some sources said that Arslan is also the leader of Jamaat-e Ansarullah. Mehdi Arslan had previously moved to Afghanistan and has fought in the ranks of the Afghan Taliban.
According to analysts, the emergence of the TTM as a new jihadist project in Central Asia will change the group’s popularity and attract radical Tajik youth.
The emergence of this jihadist movement is bad news for the government of President Emomali Rahmon, as Tajikistan is already struggling with the recent protests that occurred in the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region, and increasingly long-term economic challenges.