The industrial sector is disadvantaged in Tajikistan. It is dominated by a large smelter for aluminum, hydroelectric power plants and some mineral extraction. There is also light industry for the production of food, tobacco products, fabrics and carpets.
The already outdated and inefficient industry was largely destroyed during the civil war of 1992-1997. The recovery has been slow. The sector’s contribution to the country’s GDP and employment is small.
Aluminum production is not due to the fact that there are deposits in the country – the bauxite raw material is imported – but to the good supply of hydropower. Aluminum manufacturing is one of the most energy-intensive industries available. The smelter in Tursunzoda west of the capital Dushanbe was built in the Soviet era (1920-1991) and is one of the largest in the world. It consumes around 40 percent of the country’s electricity. Production is managed by the state-owned company Talco.
IS attack on Russian base averted
Security forces have arrested twelve suspected members of the Islamic State (IS) who are accused of planning an attack on a Russian military base in Dushanbe. IS opposes Russia’s military involvement in the war in Syria and the Russian military presence in Tajikistan.
Prison riots require dozens of lives
Up to 50 interns and two guards are killed during a prison riot in a Khudjand prison in eastern Tajikistan. The prison has several people serving long sentences for serious crimes, such as murder and membership of the Islamic State (IS). IS says it was behind the uprising and that it was led by an IS member.
Four tourists are killed in attacks
Four foreign tourists (two Americans, one Swiss and one Dutch) on a bicycle holiday are killed in an attack seven miles southeast of Dushanbe. The cyclists are first hit by a car and then stabbed. Two tourists are injured while one escapes unharmed. Two offenders are shot dead by police and four others are arrested. The Islamic State (IS) is taking the deed, but the police are rejecting this, saying that the Prohibited Party for Islamic Rebirth has carried out the attack, in collaboration with Iran. One of the perpetrators is identified as Hussein Abdusamadov, an “active member” of the party. He has received ideological training and military training in Iran, according to police. Abdusamadov is sentenced later in the year (in November) to life imprisonment for, among other things, terrorist offenses.
Mining clearance in cooperation with Uzbekistan
The political thaw between Tajikistan and Uzbekistan continues with the two countries agreeing to jointly clear mines at the common border. In 2000, Uzbekistan deployed mines to prevent militant Islamists from entering the country from Tajikistan. But since then, hundreds of Tajik shepherds and other citizens who have crossed the border have fallen victim to the mines, according to the UN-backed Tajik Center for Mines.
Summit with Uzbekistan
The political thaw between Uzbekistan and Tajikistan seems to continue. When the Uzbek President Mirsyojev visits President Rahmon in Dushanbe, the two leaders agree to scrap the visa requirement that has existed since 2000 for travel between the two neighboring countries. Uzbek and Tajiks should be able to spend 30 days in each other’s countries without a visa. However, it is unclear when the new rules will start to apply. Relations between Uzbekistan and Tajikistan have long been strained, but one of Mirzijoyev’s main election promises when he was elected president of Uzbekistan in 2016 was to improve relations with neighboring countries. In 2017, air travel between the two countries resumed and in January 2018 a number of border crossings were opened. Unlike former Uzbek leader Karimov, Mirziajev does not oppose Tajikistan’s plans to build a hydroelectric plant upstream from Uzbekistan (see Foreign Policy and Defense).
Increased control over religious activities
President Rahmon signs a series of laws that restrict religious activity. For example, all appointments of imams must be approved by the authorities.