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Skirmishes began on the border between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan a few days ago. By versions Kyrgyz side, on September 14, Tajik border guards entered the border area in the Bulak-Bashy area in the Batken region of Kyrgyzstan and “took up combat positions.” Parties accused each other in mortar attacks.
On September 16, Kyrgyzstan announced fighting along the entire perimeter of the border. Representatives of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan carried out negotiation on the different levelsrepeatedly agreed ceasefire, however these agreements were not respected. Dushanbe and Bishkek again blamed each other for this, and also reported that the enemy was using heavy armament and aviation during the shelling of border villages and cities.
Authorities of Kyrgyzstan declared about evacuation from the collision zone. In the border Batken region introduced state of emergency and for several days blocked some sections of the only road connecting the north and south of the country.
The presidents of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan discussed the situation on the border, but the shelling continued. September 16 Emomali Rahmon and Sadyr Japarov met at the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Samarkand. They agreed to cease fire, withdraw the military from the line of contact, create a commission to investigate what happened, and also speed up the work of the intergovernmental commission on the demarcation of the state border between the countries. After this meeting, shelling did not stopand the Kyrgyz side statedthat Tajikistan is deploying additional forces to the border.
On the fifth day of the conflict, the fighting stopped, the parties accused each other of lies and disinformation. September 18 Kyrgyz border guards reportedthat the situation at the border remains tense, but the night passed “calmly, without incident.” The authorities of Kyrgyzstan resumed traffic on previously closed roads, and residents of the border Batken region, evacuated due to fighting, started to come back to their homes.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kyrgyzstan declared, which regards the events of September 14-17 “as a pre-planned armed act of aggression of the Republic of Tajikistan.” Dushanbe’s accusations that it was Bishkek that committed an “act of armed aggression” were called “an insignificant attempt to shift responsibility and blame” by the department. “The Tajik side launched a widespread disinformation campaign aimed at discrediting the defensive actions of the Kyrgyz Republic,” the ministry said in a statement.
At the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Tajikistan accused at the beginning of the conflict, the border guards of Kyrgyzstan and reported the latest cases of ceasefire violations by the Kyrgyz side. “In recent days, in order to create the image of an “aggressor” in the face of its neighbor, the Kyrgyz side, not shunning outright lies and insinuations, continues an information campaign against Tajikistan, thereby escalating tension in the border areas,” the Tajik Foreign Ministry said.
According to recent reports, at least 100 people have died during the conflict. At the Ministry of Health of Kyrgyzstan declaredthat the total number of deaths is 59 people, another 164 people were injured, 12 of them were children. At the National Security Council reportedthat 40 Kyrgyz servicemen were killed during the fighting, and another 70 were injured. It is not clear whether these military losses are included in the data of the country’s Ministry of Health. Kyrgyz authorities appreciated preliminary damage to the infrastructure of the border areas in the amount of 1.5 billion soms ($18 million). September 19 in the country announced day of national mourning. The Prosecutor General’s Office of Kyrgyzstan initiated criminal case under the article on a crime against peace.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Tajikistan confirmed death of 41 people. “There may be more victims, because many of the victims are in critical condition,” said Deputy Foreign Minister Sadyk Imomi. However, he did not specify the number of wounded. The day before it was reported that there were “about 30 people.”
Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are part of Organization of the Collective Security Treaty (CSTO) and thus are military allies. The CSTO called on them to cease fire and resolve the situation through negotiations. The same call was made in USA, European Union and UN. On September 18, Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke with the leaders of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan by telephone, urging the parties to reported in the Kremlin to prevent further escalation.
Conflicts on the Kyrgyz-Tajik border occur regularly. By counting “Kommersant”, over the past 12 years there have been more than 150 incidents. The reason for the conflicts is the disputed sections of the border, all of them about 70. Currently Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan mutually recognized only 664 out of 972 kilometers of the common border. Border negotiations have been ongoing since 2002.
more about the conflicts on the Kyrgyz-Tajik border
- How Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are fighting for water. Arkady Dubnov – about another military conflict that broke out between the republics of the former USSR
- Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan fired at each other’s border posts in the disputed territory. Dozens of people were injured, three were killed