The World Evangelical Alliance predicts religious restrictions will tighten in Tajikistan as a response to expected Taliban attacks in neighbouring Afghanistan as the number of US troops there falls from 66,000 to 34,000 in February.

In a report issued on Jan. 31, the alliance says an “anticipated resurgence of the Taliban in Afghanistan will likely promote Islamic militancy within and around its territories”. The result, the alliance says, will be “further deterioration” of religious freedom under the already autocratic rule of President Emomalii Rahmon.

Last year, World Watch Monitor published a report predicting an increase in Islamic extremism in the region, in part due to the US withdrawal from Afghanistan. The Central Asian country is listed as a Tier 1 Country of a Particular Concern by the US Commission on International Religious Freedom.