Clashes Break Out On Kyrgyzstan-Tajikistan Border As Both Leaders Attend SCO Summit
Border clashes have erupted Friday between the two Central Asian nations and longtime rivals Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, following three days of sporadic exchanges of fire between military border posts. Despite a short-lived attempt at ceasefire, the armed confrontation over disputed border areas continues among the neighboring countries which are both former Soviet republics and enjoy close ties with Moscow.
“The border guard said Kyrgyz forces were returning fire on Friday morning, as clashes took place along the length of the border, adding that Tajik forces were using tanks, armoured personnel carriers, and mortars,” Al Jazeera reports. “More than one-third of the 1,000km (600-mile) frontier remains disputed.”
Heavy clashes this morning between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan on the border area. pic.twitter.com/u6Mqa2Qa6N
— Aldin 🇧🇦 (@tinso_ww) September 16, 2022
Last year the two countries were on the brink of all-out war, with brief border skirmishes tending to flare-up semi-frequently, in a set of circumstances which somewhat parallels the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict, which also has the region on edge.
Some reports are saying the whole length of the border has seen clashes this week, with each side accusing the other of starting the fighting with aggressive acts and provocations. Reuters reports that—
…Tajikistan accused Kyrgyz forces of shelling one of its outposts and seven villages with “heavy weaponry.” A civilian was killed and three injured, authorities in the Tajik city of Isfara said.
The Kyrgyz health ministry meanwhile on Friday said that 31 people have been injured in the clashes. Tajik security services have further alleged the following:
“The armed forces of the neighbor country are using all types of available heavy guns and firearm and subjecting villages on the border to intense mortar bombing,” the State Committee for National Security, or GKNB, said in a statement. “Servicemen from Kyrgyz special forces units … have carried armed attacks on homes and set fire to residential buildings.”
The city of Batken in Kyrgyzstan has come under fire from rocket launchers.
Representatives of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan have agreed to a cease-fire, but according to residents, fighting continues and the media report about that pic.twitter.com/ZpBX6Va5PT
— Belsat in English (@Belsat_Eng) September 16, 2022
Ironically, both Kyrgyz President Sadyr Japarov and Tajik President Emomali Rahmon are currently in nearby Uzbekistan for the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit (SCO), which Russia’s Vladimir Putin is also attending.
Both leaders have actually appeared together in group photos at the regional China-led security summit even as border clashes ensued.
#UPDATE Tajikistan’s President Emomali Rahmon met his Kyrgyz counterpart Sadyr Japarov Friday at a summit in Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan said, and ordered their forces to draw down after border clashes left dozens injured pic.twitter.com/RVr398Q2Yn
— AFP News Agency (@AFP) September 16, 2022
There are reports each side’s armies have been given draw-down orders, following talks between Tajikistan President Emomali Rahmon and his Kyrgyz counterpart Sadyr Japarov in Samarkand.
There are reports that by the close of the day Friday, a tenuous ceasefire has been reached by both side’s militaries. However, there are already accusations from townspeople on either side of the border suggesting it hasn’t fully held.
Fri, 09/16/2022 – 12:26