Tajikistan (Тоҷикистон), officially the Republic of Tajikistan (Tajik: Ҷумҳурии Тоҷикистон, Jumhurii Tojikiston), is a mountainous landlocked country in Central Asia. Afghanistan borders it to the south, Uzbekistan to the west, Kyrgyzstan to the north, and People's Republic of China to the east. Tajikistan also lies adjacent to Pakistan but is separated by the narrow Wakhan Corridor. Most of Tajikistan's population belongs to the Tajik ethnic group, who share culture and history with the Iranian peoples and speak the Persian language (officially referred to as Tajiki in Tajikistan). Once part of the Samanid Empire, Tajikistan became a constituent republic of the Soviet Union in the 20th century, known as the Tajik Soviet Socialist Republic (Tajik SSR).
After independence, Tajikistan suffered from a devastating civil war which lasted from 1992 to 1997. Since the end of the war, newly-established political stability and foreign aid have allowed the country's economy to grow. Trade in commodities such as cotton and aluminium wire has contributed greatly to this steady improvement. In Tajikistan about 20% of the population lives on less than US$1.25 per day.
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