Tajikistan, situated in the southeastern corner of Central Asia, lies at the heart of the ‘‘Silk Road’’ sharing borders with China to the east, Afghanistan to the south, Uzbekistan to the west and Kyrgyzstan to the north. From the 1920s Tajikistan formed part of the USSR, becoming an ‘‘independent’’ Socialist Soviet Republic (SSR) in 1929. With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 the Tadzhik SSR became the new Republic of Tajikistan. The first five years of independence were marred by civil war, with large numbers of the population displaced, widespread destruction of property and infrastructure and significant loss of life.
During the civil war 50,000 people were killed, 25,000 women widowed, 55,000 children orphaned and close to a million people displaced from their homes. A peace agreement was signed in 1997 and since then the country has reaped the benefits of political and economic stability.
These pictures were taken in 2005 while I was working with the Central Statistical Agency to produce a poverty map of the country. The picture of Tajik women was used for the front cover of the Socio-Economic Atlas of Tajikistan.