Tajikistan is one of the Central Asian republics that gained independence when the Soviet Union broke apart in 1991, though Russian remains a lingua franca for communications between the Tajik majority and the minority Uzbek population. Tajikistan shares borders with Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan and China. The new country soon found itself embroiled in a civil war that lasted for half a decade before grinding to a halt in 1997 at a cost of tens of thousands of lives. The story since has been one of halting progress toward political and economic stability for the 8.6 million Tajikistanis. Tajikistan relies on its abundant natural resources, including mineral wealth and agricultural lands, but much of the population remains mired in poverty, and many citizens choose to seek work abroad in order to send funds back home.
The land itself is striking, lying as it does on the old Silk Road that connected Europe and Asia through the Middle Ages. Covered with towering peaks and thick forests, Tajikistan boasts endless miles of undeveloped wilderness with hundreds of glacier-fed rivers. According to the R&A "Golf Around the World" report, there is a golf course located outside Dushanbe, the capital city, and it is to be hoped that some intrepid traveling golfer brings back word of this mysterious facility.