Battered by a five-year civil war at the onset of its independence, Tajikistan has struggled with poverty and instability since 1991.
It remains dependent on Russia both for its economy and to help with security problems. In particular, Tajikistan depends on Moscow to fight drug smuggling and jihadist incursions from neighbouring Afghanistan.
Tajikistan is expanding ties with China, which has extended credits and built roads, tunnels and power infrastructure. Chinese firms are investing in oil and gas exploration, as well as gold mining.
REPUBLIC OF TAJIKISTAN : FACTS
- Capital: Dushanbe
- Area: 142,600 sq km
- Population: 9.1 million
- Languages: Tajik, Russian, Uzbek, Kyrgyz, Turkmen and others
- Life expectancy: 69 years (men) 73 years (women)
President: Emomali Rahmon
Emomali Rahmon, a Soviet-era cotton farm boss, was elected president in 1994, and has been re-elected regularly ever since in elections that fall far short of being free or fair.
Rahmon played a vital role in Tajikistan’s civil war, helping the former Communist effort to remove Islamist rebels from the capital Dushanbe in the early 1990s.
After years of civil war and violence, some stability returned to Tajikistan. The president has a firm grip on power, but the country remains poor and underdeveloped.
The media environment has become less free in recent years, with the authorities obstructing critical reporting.
Websites and social media have been routinely blocked. Opposition websites operate from abroad.
Television is the most popular medium. The state broadcaster is the main player in the sector.
Some key dates in Tajikistan’s history:
13th Century – Genghis Khan conquers Tajikistan and the rest of Central Asia, which becomes part of the Mongol Empire.
1860-1900 – Tajikistan is divided, with the north coming under Tsarist Russian rule while the south is annexed by the Emirate of Bukhara.
1920s – Modern Tajikistan emerges as a republic under Soviet rule.
1991– Tajikistan declares independence, but swiftly descends into a civil war that ends in 1997 with an uneasy peace agreement between former Communist and Islamist forces.
2021 – Following the takeover of the Taliban in Afghanistan, there are reports that Tajikistan is involved in the Panjshir conflict against the Taliban on the side of the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan.
2022 – There are armed clashes, including the use of artillery, along much of the border between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.
Source : BBC