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Relations with the neighboring countries of Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Afghanistan drastically improved.However, the Amnesty International report on human rights in the country for 2017/2018 described continued repressive measures, including forced labour in cotton harvesting, and restrictions on the movement of 'freed' prisoners.Less than 10% of its territory is intensively cultivated irrigated land in river valleys and oases. The highest point in Uzbekistan is the Khazret Sultan, at 4,643 metres (15,233 ft) above sea level, in the southern part of the Gissar Range in Surkhandarya Province, on the border with Tajikistan, just northwest of Dushanbe (formerly called Peak of the 22nd Congress of the Communist Party).Uzbekistan has a rich and diverse natural environment.The Uzbek economy is in a gradual transition to the market economy, with foreign trade policy being based on import substitution.In September 2017, the country's currency became fully convertible at market rates.The local Khwarezmian dynasty, and Central Asia as a whole, were decimated by the Mongol invasion in the 13th century.After the Mongol Conquests, the area became increasingly dominated by Turkic peoples.
The area was incorporated into the Iranian Achaemenid Empire and, after a period of Macedonian Greek rule, was ruled by the Iranian Parthian Empire and later by the Sasanian Empire, until the Arab conquest of Iran in the 7th century.
Uzbekistan has a diverse cultural heritage due to its storied history and strategic location.
Its first major official language is Uzbek, a Turkic language written in the Latin alphabet and spoken natively by approximately 85% of the population.
The region was split into three states: Khanate of Khiva, Khanate of Kokand, and Emirate of Bukhara.
It was gradually incorporated into the Russian Empire during the 19th century, with Tashkent becoming the political center of Russian Turkestan.
Along with Liechtenstein, it is one of the world's only two doubly landlocked countries.