Northern Tajikistan is a strange amoeba-like tongue of land sandwiched in between Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. The product of Stalin’s divide-and-conquer, border-making scheme in the 1920s, it embraces Khujand, parts of the Fergana Valley, the Fan Mountains (including the Gisar, Zeravshan and Turkistan ranges) and the isolated Zeravshan valley.

The Fergana Valley is a large, curving strip of land with the Tien Shan mountains to the north and the Gasser-Allay Mountains, a branch of the Pamirs, to the south. Covering 22,000 square kilometers and drained by the upper Syr-Darya river, it is 320 kilometers long and occupies an area about three-quarters the size of Maryland and is so large that it doesn’t really seem like a valley at all. The entrance to valley is a narrow mouth.

The Fergana Valley spreads across northern Tajikistan from Uzbekistan on the west to Kyrgyzstan on the east. This long valley reaches its lowest elevation of 320 meters at Khujand on the Syr-Darya. Rivers bring rich soil deposits into the Fergana Valley from the surrounding mountains, creating a series of fertile oases that have long been prized for agriculture. In the Soviet era, the Vakhsh River was dammed for irrigation and electric power, and factories were built along its banks. Hot summers and frigid winters characterize the climate. The high mountain ridges protect the Fergana Valley and other lowlands from Arctic air masses, but temperatures drop below freezing more than one-hundred days a year.

The Fergana (also spelled Ferghana) Valley lies at a convergent point of some of the great deserts and great mountains of Central Asia. It is unevenly divided among Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan with most of it in Uzbekistan. It is the most populous area in Central Asia, with 11 million people, many of them relatively conservative Muslims. The Uzbekistan section is home to about 10 million people, a third of Uzbekistan’s population. It also contains the region’s richest agricultural land that have traditionally produced melons and vegetables.

The Fergana Valley has been divided in unusual ways between Uzbekistan Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. In some cases enclaves of one country are completely surrounded by another country. In general, Uzbekistan holds the valley floor; Tajikistan occupies in narrow mouth; and Kyrgyzstan posseses the highlands around the valley.

The Fergana Valley, for the most part, is a beautiful and charming place filled with melon fields, agricultural villages, apricot orchards, cotton irrigation canals and markets where you can buy Afghanistan opium and traditional crafts. It is also a center of cotton and silk worm production and has its share of Soviet-era polluting industries. There is some oil and gas in the valley. Walnuts are harvested in the hills.

History of the Fergana Valley

The Fergana Valley has been occupied by wealthy kingdoms and was the source of legends of lightning fast “dragon-horses” that sweated blood during the time of Alexander the Great. During the Silk Road era, it was regarded as a kind of resort, where caravans stopped for long periods of time for rest and relaxation, Babur, the founder of the Moghul empire in India, was born in the valley.

The Soviets utilized the Fergana Valley in its cotton production scheme and divided it among Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan with a crazy quilt of arbitrary and illogical borders, including small islands of one country within another country. The borders were created under Stalin in the 1920s, before he was leader of the USSR, when he was the People’s Commissar of Nationalities. His objective was to divide the local population, to reduce their threat to the state, not unify it. The largest chunk of the Fergana Valley is in Uzbekistan and most of the inhabitants of the entire valley are Uzbeks. There are large numbers of Tajiks in Tajikistan and Kyrgyz in Kyrgyzstan and lots of Uzbeks in both countries. The numbers of Kyrgyz in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan as are relatively small. The same is true with Tajiks in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. These groups have mostly live in harmony but sometimes ethnic tensions have flared (See Andijan massacre Under Uzbekistan).

During the Soviet era, people moved freely between the Uzbek, Kyrgyz and Tajik republics but since the Central Asian nations became independent movement across the borders has become tightly controlled. Border posts with X-ray machines, interrogation rooms and bomb-sniffing dogs have been set up. In some paces mines have been sewn along the frontiers. The restrictions have negatively impacted economic life, isolated communities and exacerbated ethnic tensions.

The Fergana Valley is perceived as a stronghold of Islamic extremism. You see more veiled women and bearded men with skullcaps here than in other parts of Central Asia but many people believe that valley's reputation as a center of Muslim extremism is exaggerated. Clubs play Western music, People drink openly. Only a few old men have beards. Even so many of the Islamic movement in Central Asia have their roots and most enthusiastic followers in the valley. The unemployment rate is high. There are a lot of idle young men around. Since the 1991 break up of the Soviet Union it has been the site of tensions and conflict.


Kirill Nourzhanov and Christian Bleuer wrote: Now renamed Sughd, the Leninobod oblast (or viloyat in Tajik) in the north with its centre in Khujand has always been the most developed and populated part of Tajikistan. Its economy is based on grain, cotton-growing and modern industry: in 1992, 616 of the republic’s 733 factories were located there. In 1994, this region accounted for 62 per cent of the state budget’s revenues. The spirit of entrepreneurship has never been extinguished amongst the Khujandis; even at the height of Stalin’s rule they continued with private productive activities, mainly on family allotments, and with trade, which allowed for higher living standards than elsewhere in Tajikistan. Consequently, the cooperative movement initiated in the USSR in the late 1980s, and the process of small privatisation that followed, has yielded impressive results. The variety of privatised, semi-privatised and de facto-privatised enterprises operational in Khujand (usually headed by government officials of some kind) in the immediate post-independence period was astounding. [Source: “Tajikistan: Political and Social History” by Kirill Nourzhanov and Christian Bleuer, Australia National University, 2013 ]

“The Leninobod/Sughd oblast is an organic part of the multi-ethnic Ferghana Valley and, in terms of infrastructure and even ethnic composition, it is closer to Uzbekistan than rump Tajikistan; suffice to mention that Uzbeks make up 43 per cent of the population in the northernmost Asht raion. This region was connected with Dushanbe by one narrow mountain road, which was out of operation several months a year; there is no direct railway link, and the only reliable means of transportation for many years was airplane. The sense of isolation from the rest of Tajikistan is so entrenched that Khujandi businessmen flying from their hometown to Dushanbe would routinely say that they were going ‘to Tajikistan’.

Khujand, Khujandis and Valley Tajiks

Khujand (30 miles northwest of Andijan in Uzbekistan) is Tajikistan’s second largest city. Located at opening of the Fergana Valley and home to 200,000 people, it is an ancient city, founded Alexander the Great in the 4th century B.C. In the Silk Road era, it was an important trading center and place where caravans stopped for some rest and relaxation. The Mongols sacked the city. The Russians claimed it in 1876. Khujand (also spelled Khojand or Khojent) was known as Leninobod during pat of the Soviet era.

The Fergana Valley and Khujand are home to a large number of Uzbeks. During the Soviet era, the clans based around Khujand (then known as Leninobod) had the closest ties with the ruling Communist elite. Khujand has traditionally been populated by an Uzbek majority. The Uzbeks had close links with the Communists in the Soviet era and threatened to secede from Tajikistan when it seemed that Tajikistan might become an Islamic state. It escaped the ravages of the civil war but was the site of a warlord battle in 1998 that left 200 dead. Today it lies at the center of Tajikistan’s cotton-growing region and is wealthiest part of Tajikistan.

Kirill Nourzhanov and Christian Bleuer wrote: “Valley Tajiks who live in the north have been traditionally viewed as half-Turkicised by mountain Tajiks in the south and south-east of the republic. In their turn, some Khujandis go to great lengths to assert their purity and cultural superiority, claiming, for example, that they are direct descendants of the Aryans, Cyrus the Great and Ismoil Somoni, and that only ignorant people would say their capital city is 2500 years old, because in reality it has a 8400-year history. [Source: “Tajikistan: Political and Social History” by Kirill Nourzhanov and Christian Bleuer, Australia National University, 2013 ]

“Inside Tajikistan, the Khujandis have a reputation of being pragmatic people obsessed with making a profit and prone to striking dubious deals and gambling. It is also believed that the political ideal of the Leninobodis is a combination of rigid authoritarian central power and freedom of private entrepreneurship and initiative … The freedom of entrepreneurship by no means is associated with freedom per se, it is realised through communal mechanisms with their authoritarian character, paternalism and negation of individualism.

Leninobod: the Source of Soviet Tajikistan’s Political Elite

Kirill Nourzhanov and Christian Bleuer wrote: “Between 1946 and 1991, the top leadership of Tajikistan was invariably recruited from Leninobod. In addition to the position of first secretary of the republican Party Central Committee, people from the north were traditionally in charge of industry and trade, and, generally, dominated the top party organs. Moreover, the oblast enjoyed the privilege of trading abroad directly, bypassing Dushanbe. Beginning with Jabbor Rasulov, the CPT Central Committee (CC) first secretary in 1961–82, the Leninobodi ruling elite adopted a truly Machiavellian tactic in preserving their control: representatives of other regions did gain access to positions of authority, however, they were selected ‘not as people who cherished [the] interests of their compatriots, but spineless individuals, or, even worse, “marginals” (those who had a Russian or Leninobodi wife, or had been brought up somewhere “far away”), or complete nincompoops, in order to discredit the southern nomenklatura clans in the eyes of Moscow’.

Hikmatullo Nasriddinov, a Kulobi who was appointed minister for irrigation in 1980, remembers with a degree of bitterness that one condition of his promotion was he could never employ fellow-townsmen in the ministry: Of course, these incantations of Jabbor Rasulov about inadmissibility of nepotism and favouritism were correct. But I saw that Rasulov himself, as well as his high-placed co-regionalists, did not uphold them. Their words were one thing, and their deeds—quite another. They tried in every imaginable way to plant cadres from the North in positions of influence and income in the mountainous regions.

“It would be wrong to depict the Leninobodi regional clique as a cohesive entity with a clear-cut political agenda. After all, it is an area where traditional ties and allegiances have been most weakened both by communist efforts at modernisation and by the rekindled taste for a market economy. There is an assortment of rival kinship and solidarity networks, which came into existence in the Soviet period and continued to play a pivotal role in contemporary Tajik politics in the immediate post-independence era. The Uroteppa (Istaravshon) ‘clan’ headed by Salohiddin Hasanov, the Panjakent grouping centred on Isomitdin Salohiddinov, the Qayraqqum-Yaghnob cluster represented by Safarali Kenjaev, and the Osimov-Olimov family agglomeration in Khujand, which had viable ties in the religious establishment throughout Central Asia, were only a few of these groups. All of them competed for greater autonomy and larger allocations for their patrimonies, or for political influence on the republican level, in defiance of the more powerful and well-established structures, such as the Leninobod-Kanibodom group of families (the Arabovs-Karimovs), Abdumalik Abdullojonov’s shadowy empire, or ex-premier Samadov’s patronage web. In times of peril, however, the feeling of regional loyalty invariably proves stronger than the resentments of more localised ambitions. This was the case when a Leninobodi, Rahmon Nabiyev, was removed from the leadership of Tajikistan in 1985 and the Kremlin was looking for a replacement from amongst mountain Tajiks. This situation continued into the early post-independence era—all strongmen in the region united in order to defend the privileged status of their homeland.


The Hisor (Gisar) mountains lies just north of the capital, Dushanbe, which is situated in west-central Tajikistan. Mountain ranges of Gissar-Allay occupies the central place in the territory of Tajikistan and refer to the south of Tien-Shan and include Turkistan, Zarafshan, Gissar, Karategin and Alay mountain ranges. The Hisor Valley includes Tajikistan’s capital, Dushanbe.

Kirill Nourzhanov and Christian Bleuer wrote: The Hisor Valley “is another industrialised zone. The aluminium plant at Tursunzoda near the Uzbek border is one of the largest in Asia and, immediately after independence, generated 50 per cent of Tajikistan’s hard-currency earnings. By the early 1990s, an unofficial alliance had emerged between the industrial and financial captains of Leninobod and Hisor; the latter had been allowed to occupy high positions in the state bureaucracy as a sign of recognition of Hisor’s industrial and agricultural potential. The geographical proximity of the two regions as well as close cultural ties complemented the political rapprochement. [Source: “Tajikistan: Political and Social History” by Kirill Nourzhanov and Christian Bleuer, Australia National University, 2013 ]

“Hisor was a major princedom from the fifteenth to the nineteenth centuries. It was subjugated by the Emirate of Bukhara only in 1868, in the wake of the 15-day battle of Dehnav. Local activists have always believed it is unfair that Hisor should be just one of the raions under Dushanbe’s direct jurisdiction; they have demanded its elevation to oblast status and mooted the idea of a ‘reacquisition’ of territories in Qurghonteppa, Qubodiyon, Boisun, Sherobod and even Darvoz and Qarotegin, for ‘they belonged to the realm of the bek of Hisor, or sent him annual metayage and were accountable to him’. But its relatively small population and its sheer heterogeneity (45 per cent of the population is Uzbek) effectively precluded a dramatic rise in Hisor’s influence in the republic until the civil war.

“The region’s location at a trade crossroads of Central Asia, the presence of hard-currency-earning industries in its territory, the relatively high degree of mobility of the population and the folklore tradition of Hisori polvons—the outlawed fighters against the Manghit authorities—were instrumental in the emergence of organised crime groupings as a potent unofficial institution in the region by the early 1990s. At that time the four main gangs specialised mostly in extortion, smuggling and car theft. They also maintained close contacts with colleagues in Uzbekistan and enjoyed protection in high places in Tashkent.”


Kirill Nourzhanov and Christian Bleuer wrote: The Kulob region in the south is a predominantly agricultural zone—in 1989, only 16.5 per cent of those employed worked in industry. Cotton was and still is the single most important crop, and foodstuffs have had to be imported from adjacent districts and Uzbekistan. Rural overpopulation and hidden unemployment became perceivable as early as the mid 1960s, and a decision was made in Moscow to create the South Tajik Territorial Manufacturing Complex (STTMC) to tackle this problem. The project envisaged the accelerated industrial development of the region as well as the continuing increase of cotton production in the newly irrigated lands. Its practical implementation was to be supervised by the republican authorities—that is, people from the north. Naturally, there has emerged an understanding between elite groups from Khujand and Kulob, which reached symbolic heights in 1990 when the two cities became twins. [Source: “Tajikistan: Political and Social History” by Kirill Nourzhanov and Christian Bleuer, Australia National University, 2013 ]

“Kulob featured prominently in the medieval history of Central Asia. Its lancers were famous for their bravery and recklessness. The Kulobis are stereotyped as hardworking people, short-tempered and not particularly bright. Before the creation of the Tajik Soviet Socialist Republic, the Kulobis made up 60 per cent of the population of Eastern Bukhara, and, as has been mentioned, were viewed as real ‘mountain’ Tajiks, in opposition to the Turkicised ‘valley’ Tajiks in the north. In the 1980s, the feeling of past greatness was still alive. A certain Berdyeva, a Supreme Soviet deputy from Kulob, once stirred a sensation when she said in public: ‘I wonder why everyone thinks that a Kulobi woman cannot give birth to a leader.’ Since independence, a concerted program has been initiated by local intellectuals to revise the annals of history and portray Kulob as the cradle of Zoroastrian civilisation, blessed with a great urban culture that reached its zenith 2700 years ago.

“Patriarchy and kinship bonds are much stronger in Kulob than in the Leninobod region. Although prior to 1992 local solidarity groups had never played an important role in the republic’s politics, their positions inside the oblast were extremely strong. It was especially evident at the level of separate collective farms—the backbone of Kulob’s economy. The kolkhoz chairman—respectfully referred to by peasants as rais or bobo—usually combined the features of an ‘oriental despot’ and the head of a big patriarchal family. Mirsaid Mahmadaliev, twice Hero of Socialist Labour, headed the Lenin kolkhoz for more than three decades. By the mid 1970s, his kolkhoz had evolved into an impressive enterprise, with 350 tractors, 57 combine harvesters, 35 cotton-growing brigades, six dairy farms, 13 retail shops, seven schools and an assortment of other facilities, which made it entirely self-sufficient and profitable at the same time. Bobo Mirsaid managed the kolkhoz as his own fiefdom without any interference from outside, for he had taken the precaution of becoming a deputy of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR and had served as a CPT CC member for quite some time. He was also in the habit of inviting influential guests from Moscow and entertaining them in a princely way. Mirsaidov patronised a few young aspiring graduates from Kulob; one of them, Qurbon Mirzoaliev, eventually became chairman of the executive committee of the Kulob oblast and continued to feature prominently in the Tajik political arena.


Kirill Nourzhanov and Christian Bleuer wrote: The mountainous region of Gharm, east of Dushanbe, is the granary of Tajikistan, due to its mild climate and abundance of water. In addition to the Gharm raion proper, it includes the districts of Komsomolobod (historical Qarotegin), Tavildara, Fayzobod and Jerghatol (the Qarotegin Valley has since been renamed Rasht). The Gharmis, 95 per cent of whom in this region live in villages, have traditionally been engaged in growing fruit and vegetables rather than cotton. An average Gharmi farmer would gain up to 80 times more profit from one acre of citrus trees than his Kulobi colleague growing cotton, spending much less effort. Gradually, the Gharmis accumulated substantial capital through trading agricultural produce on local markets and began to penetrate the republican trade structures, both legal and shadowy, that had been previously dominated by the Leninobodis and Uzbeks. Yet their growing wealth and sprawling commercial activities failed to bring about any rise in the political status of the region. On the contrary, it was downgraded from oblast status to just ‘a group of raions’ in 1955. In the late 1970s, the regional elite’s aspirations were rekindled—this time it was connected with the name of Mirzo Rahmatov, the USSR’s ambassador in Ghana and a personal friend of Brezhnev. Brezhnev’s untimely death in 1982, however, put an end to these hopes. [Source: “Tajikistan: Political and Social History” by Kirill Nourzhanov and Christian Bleuer, Australia National University, 2013 ]

“The principalities of Gharm, Qarotegin and Darvoz were always hard to conquer and administer. They were the last to fall into the fold of Bukhara with the help of Russian armed forces during 1869 and 1870. These areas formed a stronghold of the basmachi movement until the late 1930s. The highlanders of Gharm cling staunchly to their traditional institutions, such as the non-divided agnate family, adat and shari’a. They often called themselves oqab (eagle) or Tojiki toza (pure Tajik), and are noted for their religious piety and traditional values. In 1974, a certain sovkhoz in Gharm had no less than 30 mazors (shrines), and in 1977 there was only one girl from Komsomolobod who studied in a tertiary institution.

“The Gharmis arguably suffered more than other Tajiks from Soviet demographic exercises. Tens of thousands of people from this region were resettled to the Vakhsh Valley in the south-west between 1928 and 1931 in order to develop new cotton plantations. The whole project was based on forced labour and scores perished from the drastic change of climate, a ‘lack of the most elementary facilities … and an epidemic of typhoid’. In 1934, the CPT CC passed a special resolution that aimed ‘to carry out, in the shortest possible time, the special investigation amongst the settlers in the Vakhsh Valley, with the aim of getting rid of them’. As a result of this purge, many Gharmi peasants ended up in the Gulag. After World War II the authorities continued to press the Gharmis to migrate from their homeland—which registered the highest birth rate in the republic (over the period 1979–89 the population in the region grew by 36 per cent, compared with the republic’s figure of 26 per cent). In the mid 1970s, the construction of a gigantic hydro-power station began at Roghun, which would have required the evacuation of 62 villages and could have led to massive social and ecological changes in the Gharm region. Approximately 30 000 Gharmis were scheduled to be removed from the flooded area and resettled in Kulob and in the Vakhsh Valley. Not surprisingly, the population of Gharm felt aggrieved by the government’s plans. The sentiments of internal protest and subdued opposition were widely spread amongst Gharmi settlers (muhajirs) throughout the republic as well. The then Dushanbe-based poet Gulrukhsor Safieva was especially active in voicing the grievances of fellow Gharmis.


Kirill Nourzhanov and Christian Bleuer wrote: The Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast (GBAO) in the Pamirs occupies almost half of Tajikistan’s territory but accounts for only 2.5 per cent of the country’s population. It is the least-developed part of the country, totally dependent on external supplies delivered via two seasonal roads. Badakhshan is characterised by appalling unemployment rates and the lowest standard of living. Amazingly, such basic foods as potato and cabbage were only introduced to the Pamirs in 1938, and 10 years later people still wore homespun clothes. On the other hand, the ratio of people with a college education amongst the Pamiris was the highest in Tajikistan at the end of the Soviet era: 124 per 1000 employed, compared with 100 in Leninobod and 66 in Qurghonteppa. In the postwar period these graduates could not find jobs according to their specialisation in their place of birth and moved to major urban centres of the republic. Progressively, the Pamiris formed a sizeable stratum of Tajikistan’s ‘prestige elite’—that is, writers, artists, scholars, and so on. By 1991, 180 000 Pamiris lived and worked outside the GBAO—more than that oblast’s actual population. [Source: “Tajikistan: Political and Social History” by Kirill Nourzhanov and Christian Bleuer, Australia National University, 2013 ]

“The Pamiris have always differed from other Tajiks in important cultural characteristics, such as language, religion and stronger familial affiliation. Their languages and dialects belong to the Eastern Iranian language group as opposed to the Western Iranian Tajik. The majority of Pamiris adhere to the Ismaili sect of Shiism whilst the bulk of valley and mountain Tajiks are Sunnis. All eight Pamiri sub-ethnic groups retain potent self-consciousness and can identify themselves on at least three levels: by their primary cultural name—for example, rykhen, zgamik, khik and so on—when dealing with one another; by their collective name, pomiri (Pamiri), when interacting with other groups in Tajikistan; and, finally, as Tajiks when outside the republic. In the 1980s, the official line of the Tajik leadership denied the Pamiris their cultural uniqueness: ‘the Pamiris are Tajiks by descent and their languages are nothing more than dialects of Tajik.’

“The ancient consanguinal commune with its patrilineal and patrilocal characteristics—natural economy, cult of ancestors, even blood feuds—has survived in the Pamirs. There used to be a joke in Tajikistan to the effect that if communism were ever to be built in the USSR, it would happen in Badakhshan as commodity-market relations were virtually unknown there. Trade was a rather disfavoured occupation there, and when in the 1970s a market was finally opened in Khorog, there was not a single local amongst the vendors. Family solidarity amongst Pamiris, and the stereotype it spawned, is exceptional even in the context of Tajikistan; for them, there is nothing inherently bad in nepotism. As an example, there was a case in 1975 when a certain Mahmadakov had managed to plant all 16 of his children in various scientific institutions throughout the republic.

“Although the republican authorities paid lip-service to the necessity of the accelerated development of the GBAO, in reality nothing was being done and the region, with 0.03 per cent of Tajikistan’s total material production, was constantly on the brink of survival. Since the early 1970s, the Pamiri elite strove to upgrade the region to the status of an autonomous republic in an attempt to change the situation, but to no avail. Even worse, by 1980 all leading positions in the region had been occupied by people from the north—a situation that made an important visitor from Moscow exclaim: ‘What is this invasion of Leninobodis during the Tenth five-year plan all about?’

See Separate Article on Pamiri Tajiks.


Kirill Nourzhanov and Christian Bleuer wrote: “The Qurghonteppa region in the south-west, which includes the Vakhsh Valley, is the melting pot of Tajikistan. Only sparsely populated before 1917, it became, under Soviet rule, subject to an enormous influx of Tajiks from Gharm and Kulob as well as Uzbeks, Russians, Germans and representatives of other nationalities, who mixed with local Tajiks, Turkmens, Arabs and Baluchi. Between 1926 and 1929 alone, 160 000 new settlers arrived there. All of them participated in ‘great construction projects of communism’, such as the Vakhsh Irrigation Complex. In 1990, more than one-fifth of the republic’s population lived in the Qurghonteppa oblast; its share in Tajikistan’s industrial output exceeded 15 per cent and 39 per cent in cotton production. [Source: “Tajikistan: Political and Social History” by Kirill Nourzhanov and Christian Bleuer, Australia National University, 2013 ]

“Qurghonteppa in the early 1990s was where ‘the complex of national inferiority was the strongest and most transparent. It was exacerbated by the emergence of a dual economy, whereby “giants” of industry were not oriented towards local labour resources and traditions, had no links with [the] local industrial complex and formed enclaves of alien “big industry”.’ In rural areas, kolkhoz bossism similar to that in Kulob flourished, with the difference that local collective farms were even richer, particularly in the Kolkhozobod raion, renowned for its long-staple cotton. The struggle for dominance in Qurghonteppa involved Kulobis, Gharmis and Uzbeks (the last made up almost one-third of the population). In the 1980s, power in Qurghonteppa was divided between an obkom first secretary from Kulob, the chairman of the executive committee from Gharm and the head of the local cooperative society (Tojikmatlubot)—an ethnic Uzbek. Needless to say, newly established settlements in the Vakhsh Valley were organised on ethnic and regionalistic lines, and, for example, ‘if there happened to be a wedding in an Urghut kolkhoz, their Gharmi neighbours were not likely to be invited’.

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Text Sources: New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Times of London, Lonely Planet Guides, Library of Congress, U.S. government, Compton’s Encyclopedia, The Guardian, National Geographic, Smithsonian magazine, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Reuters, AP, AFP, Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic Monthly, The Economist, Foreign Policy, Wikipedia, BBC, CNN, and various books, websites and other publications.

Last updated April 2016

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