Tajikistan

Tajikistan lies landlocked on the western slopes of the Pamirs in central Asia. Soon after the breakup of the USSR in 1991, civil war erupted between ruling communists and Islamists.


Geography:

Mainly mountainous: bare slopes of the Pamir ranges, with fast-flowing rivers, cover most of the country. 

Small but fertile Fergana Valley in northwest.

Climate:

Continental extremes in the valleys. 

Bitterly cold winters in the mountains. 

Rainfall is low.

People & Society:

Unlike the other former Soviet republics of central Asia, Tajikistan is dominated by a people of Persian (Iranian) rather than Turkic origin. 

The main ethnic conflict is with the Turkic Uzbek minority. 

Russians are discriminated against; most fled in the 1992–1997 civil war, and standards of living fell dramatically. 

Islamist militants are active. 

Two million people work abroad, primarily in Russia.

Economy:

Mass poverty. 

Declining cotton revenue. 

Also exports aluminum. 

Uranium deposits. 

Transit route for Afghan opium. 

Corruption. 

Needs reforms to attract foreign investment. 

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