Pamir and Alay Mountains dominate landscape; western Fergana Valley in North, Kofarnihon and Vakhsh Valleys in southwest
Midlatitude continental, hot summers, mild winters; semiarid to polar in Pamir Mountains
Population: 7,910,041 (July 2013 est.)
Languages: Tajik (official), Russian widely used in government and business
Sunni Muslim 85%, Shia Muslim 5%, other 10% (2003 est.)
Tajikistan has one of the lowest per capita GDPs among the 15 former Soviet republics. Because of a lack of employment opportunities, more than one million citizens work abroad, almost all of them in Russia, supporting families through remittances. Less than 7% of the land area is arable. Cotton is the most important crop. Its production is closely monitored, and in many cases controlled, by the government. Tajikistan imports approximately 60% of its food and 90% of that comes by rail.
Housing in Dushanbe, the largest urban area, consists of many high-rise Soviet-era apartment complexes, which are usually surrounded by large courtyards and common spaces. Elevators rarely work and water pressure is weak on the higher floors. There has been no hot water in Dushanbe since 1993 (except for ten days before the presidential elections). Electricity is sporadically shut off. Cooking gas is provided for only four hours in the afternoon. Telephone service is also deficient.
US Military Presence/Support