BRUSSELS, Feb. 13 (UPI) -- Without needed reforms, Tajikistan's government could collapse and add to regional insecurity, according to an International Crisis Group report.
The Belgium-based independent non-governmental organization says that with a growing insurgency in Afghanistan and supply routes in Pakistan under increasing strain from militancy, Western leaders are working to establish Tajikistan -- which borders Afghanistan to the north -- as a new secure transit route.
Despite Western plans, Tajikistan is facing serious challenges to maintaining its stability as corruption spreads throughout Tajik President Emomalii Rahmon's government. Crisis Group officials say Tajikistan is in desperate need of reforms to address food security and energy infrastructure, without which Rahmon's fragile government could collapse, the group reported.
"Rahmon is not performing the role Western countries hoped he would fulfill -- the creation of a modern, functioning state that could be a firewall against the spread of extremism from Afghanistan and other parts of South Asia," Robert Templer, Crisis Group Asia program director, said in a statement.
"With crude but effective processes of co-option or punishment, he has emptied the political space, in the clear aim of leaving neither domestic nor international critics with a viable alternative."