Tajikistan

 

The Tajik people came under Russian rule in the 1860s and 1870s, but Russia’s hold on Central Asia weakened following the Revolution of 1917. Bolshevik control of the area was fiercely contested and not fully re-established until 1925. Much of present-day Sughd province was transferred from the Uzbekistan SSR to newly formed Tajikistan SSR in 1929. Ethnic Uzbeks form a substantial minority in Sughd province. Tajikistan became independent in 1991 following the breakup of the Soviet Union, and it is now in the process of strengthening its democracy and transitioning to a free market economy after its 1992-97 civil war.

 

There have been no major security incidents in recent years, although the country remains the poorest in the former Soviet sphere. Attention by the international community in the wake of the war in Afghanistan has brought increased economic development and security assistance, which could create jobs and increase stability in the long term. Tajikistan is in the early stages of seeking World Trade Organization membership and has joined NATO’s Partnership for Peace.

 

Geography:
Location: Central Asia, west of China
Geographic coordinates: 39 00 N, 71 00 E
People:
Population: 7,768,385 (July 2012 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 33.9% (male 1,316,623/female 1,270,899)

15-64 years: 62.7% (male 2,368,554/female 2,413,982)

65 years and over: 3.4% (male 108,896/female 148,246) (2011 est.)

Government:
Country name: conventional long form: Republic of Tajikistan

conventional short form: Tajikistan

local long form: Jumhurii Tojikiston

local short form: Tojikiston

former: Tajik Soviet Socialist Republic

Government type: republic
Communications:
Telephones – main lines in use: 367,700 (2009)
Telephones – mobile cellular: 5.941 million (2009)
Transportation:
Airports: 24 (2012)
Airports – with paved runways: total: 17

over 3,047 m: 2

2,438 to 3,047 m: 4

1,524 to 2,437 m: 5

914 to 1,523 m: 3

under 914 m: 3 (2012)

Military:
Military branches: Ground Forces, Air and Air Defence Forces, Mobile Force (2010)
Military service age and obligation: 18 years of age for compulsory military service; 2-year conscript service obligation (2009)

Economy:

Tajikistan has one of the lowest per capita GDPs among the 15 former Soviet republics. Only 7% of the land area is arable. Cotton is the most important crop, but this sector is burdened with debt and an obsolete infrastructure. Mineral resources 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. While Tajikistan has experienced steady economic growth since 1997, nearly two-thirds of the population continues to live in abject poverty. Economic growth reached 10.6% in 2004, but dropped to 8% in 2005, 7% in 2006, and 7.8% in 2007. Tajikistan’s economic situation remains fragile due to uneven implementation of structural reforms, corruption, weak governance, widespread unemployment, seasonal power shortages, and the external debt burden.

Transnational Issues:

Disputes – international: in 2006, China and Tajikistan pledged to commence demarcation of the revised boundary agreed to in the delimitation of 2002; talks continue with Uzbekistan to delimit border and remove minefields; disputes in Isfara Valley delay delimitation with Kyrgyzstan
Illicit drugs: major transit country for Afghan narcotics bound for Russian and, to a lesser extent, Western European markets; limited illicit cultivation of opium poppy for domestic consumption; Tajikistan seizes roughly 80% of all drugs captured in Central Asia and stands third worldwide in seizures of opiates (heroin and raw opium); significant consumer of opiates