Battles on the border between Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan

Im border area between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, fighting broke out again on Friday. As is usual in these cases, the security authorities of the two Central Asian countries accused each other of being responsible. From Kyrgyzstan there was talk of heavy fighting in several places in the southwestern Batken region; also on the border with the Tajik exclave of Woruch, which is repeatedly at the center of disputes. The Tajik side is using grenade launchers, tanks and armored vehicles, and evacuating local residents.

On the other hand, it was said Tajikistan, the Kyrgyz opponents used heavy weapons; it itself had twice ceased fire on Friday morning and proposed negotiations, but Kyrgyzstan ignored this. According to Kyrgyz sources, a ceasefire was agreed, but the shelling continued. Accordingly, 31 wounded were treated in hospitals. Tajikistan reported one person killed and three injured. Clashes are common on the border between the two countries. Hundreds of kilometers of the border, which is more than 970 kilometers long, are not demarcated.

Again and again, soldiers are drawn into or interfere in conflicts between local residents over land or water. The most recent escalation occurred last Wednesday when there was an exchange of gunfire at the border. According to Kyrgyz sources, Tajik border guards took up battle positions and refused to evacuate them. Already there should have been some dead and wounded. The Presidents of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, Sadyr Shaparov and Emomali Rahmon, were both in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit during Friday morning's escalation. It was initially unclear whether the escalation bothered her there.

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