The political landscape in Tajikistan has been quite stable during this reporting period. On 11 February, byelections were held in two constituencies in the Kulob and Vose districts. Not surprisingly, representatives from the predominant presidential People's Democratic Party (PDP) won both seats - due to a boycott by the oppositional Social Democratic Party (SDP) of both elections and the mere absence of any alternative candidate from the Vose constituency.
The main security concern for Tajikistan is the violence related to drug trafficking. Throughout the reporting period, several armed incidents occurred on the border with Afghanistan. Almost exclusively drug related events make up the conflictive risk map for the southern regions. Skirmishes between Tajik border guards and local and/or Afghan drug smugglers occurred almost daily in the border area of the Khatlon province and along roads leading towards Dushanbe and beyond. The Gorno-Badakhshan autonomous province was less affected due to winter conditions. While significant for the local population in the border areas, illicit drug trafficking currently is not a major destabilizing factor for the country as a whole. However, the issue is likely to remain on the agenda of Tajik politics despite remarkable efforts from the Tajik authorities and the international community to tackle the problem.