Tajikistan, Central Asia
Political Leader: President Emomalii Rahmon
Religions: Islam 89.5%, Non-Religious 9.1%. Christianity 1.4%
Persecution Ranking: No. 34
Number of Terrorist Groups: 3
Acts of Terrorism: 56; Casualties: 57
Percent of Corruption: 78%
% of People in Poverty: 64%
Tajikistan, officially the Republic of Tajikistan, is a mountainous landlocked country in Central Asia. Afghanistan borders to the south, Uzbekistan to the west, Kyrgyzstan to the north, and China to the east. Most of Tajikistan's population belongs to the Tajik ethnic group, who share culture and history with the Iranian peoples and Uzbek people and speak the Tajik language. Tajikistan is the smallest nation in Central Asia by area. It is covered by mountains of the Pamir range, and more than 50% of the country is approximately 10,000 feet above sea level.
Following the deployment of U.S. troops to Afghanistan, which shares a 1,400-kilometer border with Tajikistan. the Tajik government’s allowed its territory and air space to be used for counterterrorist actions. The Tajik government’s main impediment to counterterrorism performance remained its lack of resources. Tajikistan is not known to harbor terrorist groups, but extremists have transited Tajikistan to and from Afghanistan and Pakistan through the porous 1, 1,400-kilometer Tajik-Afghan border. The United States spent over $5.8 million in 2006 to train and equip the Tajik Border Guards, improve border fortifications, and related capacity-building assistance. These measures will help stem the flow of potential terrorists attempting to cross the border and allow Tajikistan to better monitor its own borders.
Tajikistan prohibited extremist-oriented activities and closely monitored terrorist groups like the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) and extremist groups like Hizbut-Tahrir (HT). The government of Tajikistan believed HT was active in the Ferghana Valley. The Tajik legal system convicted 32 alleged HT members (19 men and 13 women) in 2006. Analysts believed that the IMU also operated in Tajikistan. Recent press reports indicated that Tajik authorities arrested 30 suspect IMU members in Tajikistan; figures were not available regarding how many of them have been convicted. Tajik authorities arrested five additional alleged IMU members in Isfara.
After gaining independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 civil war broke out between the ex-Communists and Islamic rebels. A peace agreement was signed in 1997 but ethnic tensions continue to trouble Tajikistan. 90% of the population are Muslims, but few actually live out an Islamic faith in their lives.
Challenges for Christians:
Tajikistan is ranked No. 34 among nations that are the worst persecutors of Christians based on Open Doors 2007 “World Watch List.”
- Pray for Tajikistan to continue to take a firm stance against terrorist groups.
- Pray that renegade and hostile terrorists are caught and properly dealt with for their continued violence against innocent people. (Mark 4:22)
- Thank God that in 1992 there were only two or three Tajik believers, but now there are several hundred around the world.
- Thousands of people lost their lives the civil war and a million lost their homes or had to move. Pray that the government would tackle the poverty of over half the population and be able to maintain peace.
- Pray that Muslims would have opportunities to discover Jesus.
Sources: 24-7 Prayer, Operation World, Wikipedia, Country Reports on Terrorism 2006, International Religious Freedom Report 2007, Open Doors, The World Factbook