Independence of Tajikistan

In the first presidential elections, held two months after the declaration of Independence, in November 1991, Rajmón Nabiev was confirmed in office by 58% of the votes.

On December 21, Tajikistan entered the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). At the same time, the Autonomous region of Gorno-Badajshán, in the upper Pamir, claimed the regime of an Autonomous Province. In this region the majority practice Shiite Muslim worship, as in neighboring Afghanistan.

Massive anti-government protests began in Dushanbe in March 1992, spreading beyond the capital in April, leading to a major civil war. In this context, a rally against Nabiev led to his resignation on September 8. But pro-communist forces from the north waged a broad offensive that ended with the seizure of the capital and the nomination, in December, of a new government of the Popular Front (a paramilitary group), which caused the flight of around 300,000 people to Afghanistan.

Moscow recognized the new regime, headed by Imomali Rakhmonov. In March bombings began from Afghanistan and incursions by opposition detachments across the border, controlled by Russian troops. Rakhmonov proposed a draft of a new constitution, approved in November by referendum. The president was re-elected in the elections held in conjunction with the referendum, but the Islamist opposition accused the government of fraud.

The civil war officially ended on June 27, 1997, with the signing in Moscow of a peace agreement between the government and the opposition, grouped in the so-called Tajik Opposition Union (UTO). The agreement guaranteed the opposition 30% of the positions in the cabinet, presence in court and an amnesty for all those accused of war crimes. The conflict caused 20,000 deaths, displaced 600,000 people within the country and 300,000 to Afghanistan, Russia and other CIS states.

In February 1998, the government announced the acceleration of the privatization program.

Akbar Turajonzoda, second in the UTO hierarchy, returned from exile in Iran to become the first deputy prime minister. He proposed admitting the PRI with all rights in the political life of the country, allowing it to participate in the elections. The parliament voted a law prohibiting the creation of parties based on religious currents and the president, although he vetoed the law, assured that he would not allow an Islamic government in the country.

The November 1999 elections were held under strong protests from Usmon, the only opposition candidate. Other candidates were unable to reach the number of signatures required to present due to government pressure, according to the opposition. Rakhmonov obtained 96% of the votes.

In September 2001, the Minister of Culture of Tajikistan, Abdurakhim Rakhimov, was assassinated in Dushanbe. Habib Sanginov, vice minister of the interior, had been killed in April.

That same month, after the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, Tajikistan offered support to the US- led coalition . In addition, Rakhmonov barred the entry of Afghan refugees due to the risk of terrorist infiltration. In February 2002, Tajikistan became the last former Soviet republic to join NATO.

A referendum in June approved, with 90% of the votes in favor, a package of 50 reforms to the Constitution – the most controversial of which made possible the reelection of Rahmonov.

Shamsiddin Shamsiddinov, vice president of the PRI, was sentenced in July 2003 to 16 years in prison for organizing criminal groups and other “serious” crimes. His party denounced that it was a political arrest rather than a religious one. Concerned about the advance of fundamentalism, Rahmonov arrested more than 200 members of the extremist Hizb ut-Tahrir in 2003, and confiscated “tons of literature” that advocated the creation of an Islamic caliphate in Central Asia.

In October 2004, Russia formally opened a military base in the Tajik Mountains, replacing the one that existed in the Soviet era, and regained control of the air monitoring center. Russian President Vladimir Putin personally visited Tajikistan to meet Rakhmonov, marking the relaunch of the presence of Russian military power in the country. Two months later, the leader of the opposition Democratic Party, Mahmadruzi Iskandarov, was arrested in Moscow at the request of the Tajik prosecutor’s office, who accused him of being involved in terrorism, weapons-related crimes and having committed acts of corruption. Iskandrov’s supporters, however, maintained that this was a political move.

In the February 2005 parliamentary elections – in which, according to observers, an acceptable level of transparency was not achieved – the ruling party won overwhelmingly. In April, Iskandarov was released in Moscow but was later arrested again in Tajikistan.

Russia withdrew all its border troops in June and left control of the border to the exclusive responsibility of Tajik forces. Accused of leading a terrorist organization, Iskandarov was sentenced in October to 23 years in prison as the opposition continued to denounce political motivations following the court’s decision.

A heavily armed group – which attacked and killed at least three border guards – crossed from Tajikistan into Kyrgyzstan in May 2006. The Batken region – on the two countries’ triple border with Uzbekistan – has been very unstable since the fall. from the Soviet Union and has hosted several fundamentalist Islamist groups.

According to topschoolsintheusa, the government announced, in April 2007, the signing of an agreement with a Russian company for the exploitation of its hydroelectric power. According to the studies carried out, the country’s mountain rivers could generate more than 500,000 million kilowats. The joint project would cost a billion dollars.

Independence of Tajikistan