|General background: Tajikistan has experienced
three changes in government and a five-year civil war
since it gained independence in 1991 from the USSR.
A peace agreement among rival factions was signed in
1997, and implemented in 2000. The central government's
less than total control over some areas of the country
has forced it to compromise and forge alliances among
factions. Open skirmishes in the streets are less of
a problem than they were during the war five years ago.
Attention by the international community in the wake
of the war in Afghanistan may bring increased economic
development assistance, which would create jobs and
increase stability in the long term. Tajikistan is in
the beginning stages of seeking World Trade Organization
membership and has been approved to join NATO's Partnership
Area comparative: slightly
smaller than Wisconsin.
continental, hot summers, mild winters; semiarid to
polar in Pamir Mountains.
and Alay Mountains dominate landscape; western Fergana
Valley in north, Kofarnihon and Vakhsh Valleys in southwest.
Population: 6,719,567 (July 2002 est.)
Ethnic groups: Tajik 64.9%, Uzbek 25%, Russian
3.5% (declining because of emigration), other 6.6%
Religions: Sunni Muslim 85%, Shi'a Muslim
Language: Tajik (official), Russian widely
used in government and business
Government type: Republic
Legal system: Based on civil law system; no
judicial review of legislative acts.
Economic overview: Tajikistan has the lowest
per capita GDP among the 15 former Soviet republics.
Cotton is the most important crop. Mineral resources,
varied but limited in amount, include silver, gold,
uranium, and tungsten. Industry consists only of a
large aluminium plant, hydropower facilities, and
small obsolete factories mostly in light industry
and food processing. The civil war (1992-97) severely
damaged the already weak economic infrastructure and
caused a sharp decline in industrial and agricultural
production. Even though 80% of its people continue
to live in abject poverty, Tajikistan has experienced
strong economic growth since 1997. Continued privatisation
of medium and large state-owned enterprises will further
increase productivity. Tajikistan's economic situation,
however, remains fragile due to uneven implementation
of structural reforms, weak governance, and the external
debt burden. Servicing of the debt, owed principally
to Russia and Uzbekistan, could require as much as
50% of government revenues in 2002, thus limiting
the nation's ability to meet pressing development
Communication/Telephone system: Poorly developed
and not well maintained; many towns are not reached
by the national network.
Places of interest:
Travel tips: Though many countries have pulled
their citizens out, it is possible to travel in Tajikistan
providing you're cautious and listen to local advice
about your itinerary. Talk to your foreign office
before you leave and find out all the information