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Khatlon

From Academic Kids

Khatlon is the largest and most populous region (oblast) in Tajikistan situated in the southwest of the country. It is located between the Hissar range in the north and the Panj River in the south and borders on Afghanistan in the southeast and on Uzbekistan in the west. Khatlon is informally divided into the Qurghonteppa region (Western Khatlon) with its Kofarnihon and Vakhsh river valleys and the Kulob region (Eastern Khatlon). Both regions were merged in November 1992 into Khatlon oblast.

Khatlon has an area of 24,600 square kilometres and consists of 25 districts 14 in Western Khatlon and 11 in Eastern Khatlon. The total population of Khatlon in 2000 was 2,149.5 Million 1,074.2 men and 1,075.3 women. The population in Khatlon is mainly engaged with agricultural activities, especially cotton growing and cattle raising. Only two or three percent of the population is works in the industrial sector.

During the Soviet era Khatlon became one of the two main cotton regions in Tajikistan. The other one is in Sughd (Leninabad). Collectivisation of agriculture was implemented aggressively in the early 1930s, to expand the extent of cotton cultivation in Tajikistan as a whole, with particular emphasis on the southern part of the republic. The process included violations against peasants, substantial expansion of the irrigation network, and forcible resettlement of mountain people and people from Uzbekistan to the lowlands. (Atkin 1997: 216)

The results of this policy are to be seen in the ethnic composition of Khatlon oblast as well as in the fact that the Tajik population identifies themselves either as Gharmi (resettled from the mountains) or Kulobis. These groups never melted and fought against each other during the civil war. Khatlon oblast suffered the heaviest demolitions in Tajikistan.

Since the conflicts leading to the civil war were never really resolved tensions in the region still exist. The eastern part Kulob is home to the president and his clan and thus has gained a lot of political influence. During the Soviet time the region cooperated with the then ruling elite from Leninabad and was responsible for the militia, the army and the security forces. Kulob is regarded as a conservative region. In Qurghonteppa and parts of Kulob the Islamic opposition has a lot of support among the Gharmis.

The ethnic composition of Kulob region is: 85 percent Tajiks, 13 percent Uzbeks, 2 percent others. In Qurghonteppa live 59 percent Tajiks, 32 percent Uzbeks and three percent Russians.

Sources

Atkin, Muriel: Tajikistan, in: Glenn E. Curtis (ed.): Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, Country Studies, Washington, 1997, pp. 197-290.

et:Hatloni vilajett

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