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Mountains cover more than 90 percent of this Central Asian republic, whose river valleys are home to a majority of the people. About two-thirds of the people are ethnic Tajiks, but about a quarter are Uzbeks. Shortly after independence in 1991, Tajikistan endured a five-year civil war between the Moscow-backed government and the Islamist-led opposition. A peace agreement was signed in 1997. Tajikistan relies heavily on Russian assistance, and there are Russian troops guarding Tajikistan's borders.1

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