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|Badakhshan Mountainous Autonomous Region|
|• Tajik||Вилояти Мухтори Кӯҳистони Бадахшон|
|• Russian||Горно-Бадахшанская автономная область|
|• Chairman||Alisher Khudoyberdi|
|• Total||64,200 km2 (24,800 sq mi)|
|• Density||3.5/km2 (9.2/sq mi)|
|ISO 3166 code||TJ-GB|
Gorno-Badakhshan,[n 1] officially the Badakhshan Mountainous Autonomous Region,[n 2] is an autonomous region in eastern Tajikistan, in the Pamir Mountains. It makes up nearly forty-five percent of the country's land area, but only two percent of its population.
The official English name of the autonomous region is the Badakhshan Mountainous Autonomous Region. The name "Badakhshan" (Russian: Бадахшан, romanized: Badakhshan; Tajik: Бадахшон, romanized: Badaxşon) is derived from the Sasanian title bēdaxš or badaxš. "Gorno-Badakhshan" literally means "mountainous Badakhshan" and is derived from the Russian name of the autonomous region, Gorno-Badakhshanskaya avtonomnaya oblast'. The Russian abbreviation "GBAO" is also commonly used in English-language publications by national and international bodies such as the government of Tajikistan and the United Nations.
Prior to 1895, several semi-self governing statelets, including Darwaz, Shughnun-Rushan and Wakhan, ruled over the territories that are today a part of Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region in Tajikistan and Badakhshan Province in Afghanistan. The territory was claimed by the Chinese and Russian empires, as well as the Emirate of Afghanistan. The Chinese claimed control over the entire Pamir Mountains.
In the 1890s, the Chinese, Russian, and Afghan governments signed a series of agreements which divided Badakhshan, but China nonetheless continued to contest these borders.
The Soviet government established Gorno-Badakhshan in January 1925 as an autonomous republic, and later in 1929 as an autonomous oblast, of the Tajik Soviet Socialist Republic (Tajik SSR). During the 1950s, the native inhabitants of Gorno-Badakhshan, mostly ethnic Pamiris, were forcibly relocated to southwestern Tajikistan. Gorno-Badakhshan absorbed some of the territory of the Gharm Oblast when that territory was dissolved in 1955.
When the Tajik Civil War broke out in 1992, the local government in Gorno-Badakhshan declared independence from Tajikistan. During the civil war, many Pamiris were targeted for killings by rival groups[who?] and Gorno-Badakhshan became a bastion of the opposition. The Gorno-Badakhshan government later backed down from its calls for independence.
In 2011, Tajikistan ratified a 1999 treaty to cede 1,000 km2 (390 sq mi) of land in the Pamir Mountains to the People's Republic of China (PRC), ending a 130-year-old border dispute and China's claims to over 28,000 km2 (11,000 sq mi) of Tajik territory. However, the government of the Republic of China (ROC) based in Taipei does not recognize this treaty and continues to claim the territory, as reflected in its official maps.
A number of violent clashes and demonstrations have occurred in the region since the end of the civil war, with major incidences of civil unrest in 2012, 2014, 2018, 2021, and 2022. Clashes erupted on 24 July 2012 between the Tajik military and militants loyal to the former warlord Tolib Ayombekov, after Ayombekov was accused of murdering a Tajik general. On 18 May 2022, around 200 anti-government demonstrators blocked a road in Rushon which led to the regional capital Khorugh. Some of the demonstrators later ambushed a security convoy on the same road, resulting in the deaths of eight militants and one officer, the injuries of 13 officers, and the arrests of 70 assailants. The Tajik interior ministry stated that the attack was an attempt to "destabilise the social and political situation" in the region.
Districts and geography
Darvoz District is the western "beak" of the province. West-central Gorno-Badakhshan is mostly a series of east–west mountain ranges separated by valleys of rivers that flow into the Panj River. The districts correspond the river valleys. Murghob District occupies the eastern half of the province and is mostly a desolate plateau with high mountains on the west.
The districts of Gorno-Badakhshan are:
- Darvoz District (westernmost, north)
- Vanj District (west, north)
- Rushon District (west, center)
- Shughnon District (west, center)
- Roshtqal'a District (west, south)
- Ishkoshim District (west, southernmost)
- Murghob District (eastern two-thirds)
Gorno-Badakhshan covers the entire eastern part of Tajikistan and borders China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region to the east, Afghanistan's Badakhshan Province to the south, and Kyrgyzstan's Osh Region to the north. Within Tajikistan, Gorno-Badakhshan's western border is with the Districts of Republican Subordination (DRP) and the tip of its southwestern finger (Darvoz District) borders Khatlon Region. The highest elevations in the region are in the Pamir Mountains (notably Mount Imeon), nicknamed "the roof of the world" by locals. Three of the five 7,000 meter summits in Central Asia are located here, including Ismoil Somoni Peak (formerly Communism Peak, and, before that, Stalin Peak; 7,495 m), Ibn Sina Peak (formerly Lenin Peak, and still known by that name on its Kyrgyz flank; 7,134 m), and Peak Korzhenevskaya (7,105 m).
The population of Gorno-Badakhshan slightly declined from 206,004 to 205,949 between the censuses in 2000 and 2010. The population as of 2019 is estimated at 226,900. According to the State Statistical Committee of Tajikistan, the main ethnic group in Gorno-Badakhshan are Pamiris. The remainder of the population is ethnic Kyrgyz and other nationalities. The largest city in Gorno-Badakhshan is Khorugh, with a population of 30,300 (2019 est.); Murghab is the second largest, with about 4,000 residents.
Gorno-Badakhshan is home to a number of distinct languages and dialects of the Pamir languages group. The Pamiri language speakers represented in Gorno-Badakshan are speakers of Shughni, Rushani, Wakhi, Ishkashimi, Sarikoli, Bartangi, Khufi, Yazgulyam, and Oroshani. Vanji, formerly spoken in the Vanj River valley, became extinct in the 19th century. There is a sizable population of Kyrgyz speakers in the Murghab district. Russian and Tajik are also widely spoken throughout Gorno-Badakhshan. The majority religion in Gorno-Badakhshan is Ismaili Shi'ite and adherence to the Aga Khan is widespread.
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The First Secretary of the Gorno–Badakhshan Regional Committee of the Communist Party of Tajikistan was the highest position in the region during the Soviet era.
List of first secretaries
|Name||Term start||Tern end|
|Moyensho Nazarshoyev||July 1963||April 1970|
|Khushkadam Davlyatkadamov||April 1970||1978|
|Mukhitdin Zairov||June 1982||11 April 1987|
|Soibnazar Beknazarov||11 April 1987||August 1991|
The Chairman of the Badakhshan Mountainous Autonomous Region is the head of the regional government. They are appointed by the President of Tajikistan.
List of chairmen
|Name||Term start||Term end|
|Alimamad Niyozmamadov||December 1994||25 November 2006|
|Kadyr Kasim[n 3]||25 November 2006||19 November 2013|
|Shodikhon Jamshedov||19 November 2013||2018|
|Yodgor Fayzov||2018||5 November 2021|
|Alisher Khudoyberdi||5 November 2021||incumbent|
Only two easily navigable roads connect Gorno-Badakhshan to the outside world, Khorugh–Osh and Khorugh–Dushanbe, both of which are segments of the Pamir Highway. A third road from Khorugh to Tashkurgan in China through the Kulma Pass is very rough. Gorno-Badakhshan is separated from the Pakistani territories of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit Baltistan by the narrow, but nearly impassable, Wakhan Corridor. Another road leads from Khorugh to Wakhan and across the Afghan border.
In 2019, the European Union and Germany, in coordination with Tajikistan, committed 37 million euros to finance the construction of an 11 MW run-of-the-river hydro power plant along the Shokhdara river. The project is intended to also supply energy to Badakhshan, Afghanistan.
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