Located amid the Central Asia crossroads connecting Europe and Asia, contemporary Tajikistan is a country challenged by both internal and external security threats. Although fully independent since 1991, Tajikistan relies on Russia for security, even as its leaders have attempted to diversify economic relations through aid and investment. Since the Tajik Civil War (1991–1997), the country has achieved greater stability because power around the central government has increased and opposition groups have been marginalized. However, drug smuggling from Afghanistan, which borders Tajikistan, combined with insurgent political-religious organizations such as the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, continue to challenge postcommunist state building and development. Tensions between Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, its neighbor to the west, over trade and resources have created an additional dimension of potential conflict in ...

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