The Badakshani inhabit the eastern Pamir Mountains of Tajikistan. This independent, landlocked, Wisconsin-sized republic is the geographical heart of Central Asia’s vast cordillera. Long isolated from the outside world, Tajikistan gained autonomy following the 1991 breakup of the Soviet Union. Unfortunately, independence quickly degenerated into a civil war that stifled economic development, degraded the environment, and displaced half a million people. The direct and now lingering effects of this conflict imperil the Badakshani because their isolation leaves them dependent on a stable and successful Tajik state. A UN-brokered settlement in June 1997 between the Tajik government and Islamic opposition forces initiated a fragile peace. However, regional insurgencies and political isolation combined with a challenging physical environment still threaten Badakshani stability. Until recently, meeting the demand for food and medical supplies—especially in winter—required outside assistance. In this landscape of extreme environmental challenges, a solid partnership with western Tajikistan and more open international borders are prerequisites for economic, political, and cultural security.