Tajikistan. In January, Tajikistan agreed with China in a
century-old border dispute. The settlement meant that
Tajikistan gave up a thousand square kilometers of land to
China, which was said to be one-twentieth of what the
Chinese demanded. But the opposition said that Tajikistan
bowed to China, which is the largest investor in the poor
Countryaah official site, Islamist leader Abdullo Rachimov, hunted as a rebel
leader since the 1990s civil war, was killed by the military
along with ten supporters, the government reported in April.
Rachimov had been in Afghanistan for a long time.
The regime's fear and fight against Islamism led to a
contentious ban on children visiting the mosques' Friday
prayers. It came into force in August and was heavily
criticized by religious leaders. The government said it
wanted to prevent children and young people under the age of
18 from being subjected to Islamist influence, and they
would therefore be allowed to visit mosques only at
religious festivals and funerals. Violations of the law can
mean twelve years in prison for the responsible parents.
So-called illegal religious teaching was also banned, while
state religious schools were allowed.
A reporter who reported to the BBC was sentenced in
October to three years in prison, accused of conspiring with
the banned Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir. He denied the
accusations and said it was about interviews at work. The
judge issued an amnesty and the journalist did not serve the
In October, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited
Tajikistan. She criticized restrictions on religious freedom
and argued that they could promote Islamic extremism by
forcing legitimate religious expressions underground.
In October, Tajikistan signed a free trade agreement with
seven other countries in the region. It is Kyrgyzstan,
Kazakhstan, the Russian Federation, Armenia, Ukraine,
Belarus and Moldova. The agreement must be approved by each
country's parliament before it can take effect.
In November, the Russian Federation began to expel Tajik
guest workers from the Russian Federation after a Russian
and an Estonian pilot were sentenced to eight and a half
years in Tajikistan prison accused of smuggling. The Russian
Federation's health authorities said there were concerns
about the ethnic Tajik workers of the Russian Federation
carrying HIV. Tajikistan bowed to the Russian pressure, and
a court shortened the pilots' punishment and released them.
As a result, deportations from the Russian Federation were
Nearly half of Tajikistan's GDP comes from migrant labor
income, primarily from the Russian Federation and
Kazakhstan. But according to UNICEF, the absence of fathers
leads to aggressiveness, depression and poorer study results
among children in Tajikistan.