Tajikistan. According to countryaah, the country’s economic crisis worsened further during the year. The severe winter led to food shortages and extensive power outages. Since Tajikistan did not pay gas bills to neighboring Uzbekistan, gas supplies also declined. The International Crisis Group (ICG) warned in February that Tajikistan was about to develop into a weak and unstable state like neighboring Afghanistan. According to the ICG, long-term energy shortages and severe unemployment threatened to create concern. Nearly half of Tajikistan’s workforce had been guest workers abroad, but in the global financial crisis they lost their jobs, especially in the Russian Federation. The influx of money from outside was thus reduced and many workers returned to a society where more than two-thirds of the population was estimated to live in severe poverty. See ABBREVIATIONFINDER for abbreviation TJ which stands for the nation of Tajikistan.
At the beginning of the year, the country decided to allow non-military US transportation to Afghanistan through Tajikistan territory. It was announced since neighboring Kyrgyzstan announced the closure of the US air base there. Security forces took action during the year against armed groups in eastern Tajikistan, which had foreign members, among other things. In July, Islamist opposition leader and former minister Mirzo Zijeev was killed, according to authorities, shot by a criminal gang in connection with an attempt to uncover weapons hiding. Zijeev was said to have gone over to the regime after being arrested in a raid against armed groups that attacked a police check. Another former minister was killed in the same area during the year. According to authorities he took his life but according to eyewitnesses he was shot by police.
During the year, Tajikistan tightened its border guard against Afghanistan after increasing reports of Islamists coming in from neighboring countries. The country’s women are treated very poorly, according to a report by Amnesty International in November. Nearly half of the women are subjected to rape, abuse or other abuse and they do not receive much help from the authorities. The perpetrators are usually women’s men or sons-in-law, and the abuse has led to many suicides, according to Amnesty.
The civil war that for five years (1992-1997) had bloodied the Tajikistan, pitting the pro-Russian government forces against the fundamentalist Islamic forces and the liberal opposition, against the backdrop of regional and inter-ethnic contrasts, had left a heavy legacy that, on the threshold in 2000, it still continued to influence both the political and social life of the country.
Violence, corruption and political assassinations remained characteristic elements of the political and social confrontation, and weakened the control of the central government over the territory, especially in the regions of the Northeast, still in the hands of groups of Islamic fundamentalists who refused to integrate into the forces armed and did not accept the peace agreements, despite the fact that these provided for the recognition of Islamic parties for the first time.
During the year 2000 the situation remained tense: the clashes between the army and the fundamentalist forces continued, while the conditions of the civilian population worsened considerably following the cuts in social services, which had previously been guaranteed by the state. I. Rahmonov, president since 1994, tried to face the economic crisis and political instability by strengthening relations with Russia and, internally, he accentuated the authoritarian characteristics of his government, severely limiting the sphere of action of the opposition forces and freedom of expression. However, the increase in repressive measures failed to put a stop to organized crime and drug trafficking, nor to contain the attacks of Islamic fundamentalists, which worsened following the government’s decision to take sides after the attacks of 11 September 2001 in New York and in Washington, alongside the United States in the fight against international terrorism.
In June 2003 a constitutional referendum abolished the limits placed on the number of presidential terms, thus allowing Rahmonov to reapply. The legislative elections of February-March 2005 sanctioned the victory of the ruling party, the Democratic People’s Party, which won 74 % of the votes, against 13 % of the Communist Party and 8 % of the Islamic Renaissance Party. However, numerous frauds were reported by the opposition forces and international observers. Similar doubts were expressed on the democratic nature of the presidential elections in November 2006, which saw Rahmanov’s re-election with over 79 % of the votes.
In foreign policy, Tajikistan remained in the orbit of Russia, with which new military agreements were signed: in October 2004 a Russian military base was officially opened, while in February 2005 the withdrawal of Russian troops from the territory bordering on the country was completed. ‘Afghānistān. Relations with Uzbekistan, made difficult by repeated attacks by Uzbek troops against terrorist bases located in the north-eastern regions of the Tajikistan, progressively improved, and in October 2002 an agreement was reached on the borders. In recent years, ties were also strengthened with other states in the area, in order to coordinate the fight against Islamic terrorism.