Tajikistan, officially the Republic of Tajikistan, is a landlocked country in Central Asia with a population of 9,537,645 people and an area of 143,100 km2. It is bordered on the south by Afghanistan, on the west by Uzbekistan, on the north by Kyrgyzstan, and on the east by China. Tajikistan, as well as parts of Afghanistan and Uzbekistan, are part of the Tajik people's historic homelands. The region that is now Tajikistan was once home to many ancient civilizations, including the Neolithic and Bronze Age city of Sarazm, and was later dominated by kingdoms of various faiths and cultures, including the Oxus Valley Civilisation, Andronovo Culture, Buddhism, Nestorian Christianity, Vedic religion, Zoroastrianism, Manichaeism, and Islam. Several empires and dynasties have ruled over the region, including the Achaemenid Empire, Sasanian Empire, Hephthalite Empire, Samanid Empire, and Mongol Empire. The Timurid Renaissance flourished after being dominated by the Timurid dynasty and the Khanate of Bukhara. The Russian Empire later annexed the area, which was then taken over by the Soviet Union. Tajikistan's current boundaries were drawn when it was an autonomous republic within the Soviet Union before becoming a full-fledged Soviet republic in 1920. Tajikistan became an independent sovereign nation on September 9, 1991, when the Soviet Union disintegrated. A civil war broke out almost as soon as the country gained independence, lasting from 1992 to 1997. The country's economy has been able to expand since the end of the war, thanks to newly developed political stability and foreign aid. President Emomali Rahmon has led the country since 1994, and has been criticized by a number of non-governmental organisations for authoritarian rule, corruption, and systematic human rights abuses, including torture, arbitrary detention, worsening political repression, and a lack of religious freedom and other civil liberties. The Tajik ethnic community makes up the majority of Tajikistan's population, and Tajik is the country's first official language. The official inter-ethnic language is Russian. Despite the fact that the state is legally secular, 98% of the population follows Islam. Despite its small population, the Gorno-Badakhshan oblast has a wide linguistic diversity, with Rushani, Shughni, Ishkashimi, Wakhi, and Tajik among the languages spoken. More than 90% of the country is covered by mountains. It is a developing country in transition with an economy that is heavily reliant on remittances, aluminum, and cotton production. Tajikistan is a UN, CIS, OSCE, OIC, ECO, SCO, and CSTO participant, as well as a NATO Partnership for Peace partner.