The spiritual leader of the world's Ismaili community, the Aga Khan, is visiting Tajikistan, home to a small but influential Ismaili community living mainly in the south of the country.
More than two-thousand Ismailis turned out to welcome him on his arrival on Monday.
The Aga Khan told reporters he would discuss economic projects in the remote mountainous regions of the country.
Since independence, the Aga Khan has poured millions of dollars into the country in aid and also played a part in brokering the peace in Tajikistan's civil war.
THE RECENT DEATH of Ronald Reagan led many in the West to celebrate once again the fall of the Soviet Union 13 years ago. But in Khorog, a town of around 25,000 on the Tajik-Afghan border, that historic event is remembered with less happy feelings. Abandoned cranes, half-finished cement buildings and the hulls of Soviet tanks all hark back to an era when subsidies ran rich to this distant corner of Moscow's empire and supplies were trucked in without consequence of cost. 'Life was very good here during Soviet times,' explains Yorali, a local artist.
White death' endures in the lands of Central Asia - <I>WHITE DEATH' ENDURES IN THE LANDS OF CENTRAL ASIA - 2002-07-20Posted July 9th, 2009 by heritage
American authorities predicted a sharp decrease in drug trafficking after the eradication of Afghanistan's Taliban regime - known to feed its activities by selling opiates abroad. But its northern neighbour, Tajikistan, knows better.
Months after the ouster of the hardline Afghan regime, trafficking in heroin - dubbed 'white death' in Tajikistan - is far from eradicated.
'We evaluate that there has been a 13 to 15 per cent increase in drug trafficking since the beginning of the US intervention in Afghanistan,' said Abai Iugochev, head of press relations for the Tajik Drug Control Agency.