Tajik civil war

(1992–1997)
   In the wake of Tajikistan’s independence from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), political rivalry between the dominant clans from the Leninabad (Khujand) and Kulob region and marginalized ethnic and social groups from the Garm and Gorno-Badakhshan regions turned violent. The former comprised groups loyal to the Soviet-era nomenklatura>, while the latter drew support from Islamists and liberal democrats who formed a coalition called the United Tajik Opposition (UTO). Beginning in 1992, Boris Yeltsin’s government and Uzbekistan provided support to the country’s new president, Emomali Rahmon (also Imamali Rakhmanov), hoping to prevent the spread of influence of Afghan groups with ties to the rebels. The war peaked during 1993, with large-scale offensives and numerous instances of ethnic cleansing. Initially positioned as a neutral force with the goal of peacekeeping, Russian military personnel, specifically the 201st Motorized Rifle division, were occasionally drawn into direct combat with opposition forces and Afghan volunteers. Yeltsin defended his actions by suggesting that the Tajikistan-Afghanistan border was effectively a Russian “frontier” and would be treated as such. This established a precedent that remains in effect, despite the cessation of hostilities.
   On 27 June 1997, President Rahmonov, the UTO leadership, and United Nations Special Envoy Gerd Merrem signed the “General Agreement on the Establishment of Peace and National Accord in Tajikistan” in Moscow, thus ending the war. More than 100,000 Tajiks perished in the conflict, as well as an unknown number of Afghans and dozens of Russian soldiers. More than a million people were displaced by the fighting.

Historical Dictionary of the Russian Federation. . 2010.

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