AFTER A GRUELING CIVIL war and much political infighting, Tajikistan's President Imomali Rakhmonov has made ethnic harmony his goal, a prerequisite for the country's social and political stability. He is proposing a multi-ethnic community in which the highest allegiance is to the Tajik state, not to individual nationalities. However, this idea has been hampered by regionalism and blood ties. The 1992 civil war, with its bloody scenes and reprisals between areas, left a legacy of resurgent regionalism and localism that has proven difficult to eliminate. Regionalism should be treated in the same way as Tajik national feelings: with caution and respect. Rakhmonov's promotion of unity through the notion of khalqi Tajikiston (the people of Tajikistan) could be part of the answer.

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