In the 10th century, the Turks separated the Tajiks, a Central Asian community, from their Iranian kinfolk.
The Tajiks adopted the Hanafi faith and, alongside ethnicity, made it a pillar of their identity.
Between 1920 and 1990, the Soviets tried to alter the Tajiks' identity.
While they could affect the Tajiks' social status substantially (cf.
Afghanistan), they failed in changing the Tajiks' ideology.
Instead, they became involved in a conflict that pitted Soviet Tajiks against radical Muslim Tajiks, the latter intentionally misidentified as Wahhabis by the Soviets.
The question was about the viability of enforcing the secular Soviet constitution versus the Islamic Shari'a.
Inability to resolve the dispute led to civil war (1992).
The volume traces the conflict from its roots in Bukhara to the establishment of an independent secular Tajik state (1997).