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The isolation of the Pamiri has kept them close to their ancient traditions.
Railroads do not link the northwest and the southwest, and only one highway connects Dushanbe in the southwest with Khujand in the northwest.
The Khojand clan in the north is identified with hard-line communism; the Kulab clan, also pro-Russian, gained control of the government after a power struggle in 1994; and the Garm clan of the Gorno-Badakhshn region is a stronghold of the Islamic Renaissance movement.
Although Sunni Islam is the most important cultural commonality, it has become a dividing force.
Villagers who have developed regional dialects have only a rudimentary understanding of the official language.
In the Pamiri mountain regions, various languages have kept many characteristics of ancient Iranian.