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Tajikistan is an impoverished, forgotten country on the borderlands of Afghanistan. The national museum proudly displays a pair of trousers from the Second World War, while the zoo houses two unusual display cages—one marked “kitties” and the other “dogs.” Technically sovereign, but master of nothing, this central Asian state is consumed by postcolonial entropy. An Islamist insurgency is mounting in the hills and a nervous, kleptomaniac elite is…

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