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 mountain country.
According to 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 sentence.
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 stopped.
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.