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.
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.