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Dear prayer partners,

On 30 August, Tajikistan’s President, Emomali Rahmon, proposed a bill on mass amnesty which will affect more than 16,000 people to mark the 30th anniversary of Tajikistan’s Independence on 9 September. The proposed bill states that more than 9,500 convicts would be released from penitentiaries of different security levels and that probes against some 1,150 individuals would be halted while the prison terms of some 5,300 inmates would be shortened. The Tajik presidential press service said the bill will affect mainly women, individuals younger than 18 and older than 55, disabled persons, inmates with serious illnesses, people with state awards, war veterans, and foreign nationals.

Tajikistan has featured in the news quite prominently in recent weeks as it shares a border with Afghanistan – stretching some 1,344 kilometres, running through mountainous areas that are seen as porous. President Emomali Rahmon diverged from his Central Asian partners and treaty allies by signalling opposition to the Taliban takeover and expressing sharper concern about the presence of international terrorist groups in Afghanistan. He said Tajikistan would not recognise a Taliban government that is not inclusive and does not represent all its ethnic groups. The recent Taliban take over in Afghanistan has led to an influx of asylum-seekers at the Tajik border as of 1 September. Tajikistan says it has given asylum to more than 3,000 refugee families from Afghanistan, a total of 15,000 people, in the last 15 years. It is currently unclear how many additional asylum-seekers Tajikistan would be willing to receive.

Tajikistan is home to over nine million people, 99.4% of whom profess to be Muslim, while only 0.42% profess to be Christian. Tajikistan ranks number 33 on the Open Doors World Watch List for persecuted Christians where “All religious activities must be approved by the government, and it is common for churches—particularly Protestant—to be raided by authorities.” Since Tajikistan is one of the few nations in the region to hold good relations with the West, while also being open to the possibility of assisting Afghan refugees, it would be important for the larger body of Christ to come alongside the nation in assisting in these critical times.

Please join us in praying for Tajikistan.

“Jesus Christ carries on intercession for us in heaven; the Holy Ghost carries on intercession in us on earth; and we the saints have to carry on intercession for all men.” (Oswald Chambers)