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Kyrgyzstan announced the end of the fighting that caused at least 31 deaths on the border with Tajikistan

Clashes are frequent between the two former Soviet countries, which maintain differences over border territories

Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan agree to end hostilities after border clashes. EFE / EPA / Prime Minister’s press service

Kyrgyzstan announced on Friday that the intense fighting that his troops faced with those of neighboring Tajikistan ceased, after a toll of at least 31 dead.

These incidents, which broke out on Thursday, are the more intense in years between the two Central Asian countries, that several territories are disputed.

The fight started around the Tajik enclave of Voruj, in the territory of Kyrgyzstan, a mountainous and poor region, where the incidents are regular, but never reached such intensity.

Kyrgyzstan’s first Deputy Minister for Health and Social Development, Aliza Soltonbekova said in a television appearance that her country had 31 dead and 119 injured.

In a previous report, the Kyrgyz Minister of Health spoke about 13 dead and about 120 injured. Among the victims in Kyrgyzstan is a teenager, he said.

Sadir Japarov, President of Kyrgyzstan (Europa Press)

Sadir Japarov, President of Kyrgyzstan (Europa Press)

Tajikistan, an isolated country and under an authoritarian regime, has not communicated any official balance sheet, but about 11,500 inhabitants were evacuated.

The foreign ministers of both countries agreed on a “Complete truce” from 20:00 (14:00 GMT) on Thursday and “Withdrawing troops to their previous deployment sites”, according to an official statement from Kyrgyzstan.

Sporadic firing in the region stopped at around 12 noon on Friday, according to the Kyrgyz version. Tajikistan also indicated that the two parties “reached a mutual agreement to end the armed conflict and remove military personnel and equipment to permanent deployment sites”.

According to the press office of the Kyrgyz president, Sadir Zhaparov, he met his Tajik counterpart, Emomali Rakhmon, “in neutral territory” at the border on Friday. The problems will be resolved “in the next few days,” said Bishkek’s official statement.

The President of Tajikistan (EFE / EPA / TAXIKISTAN PRESIDENT PRESS SERVICE)

The President of Tajikistan (EFE / EPA / TAXIKISTAN PRESIDENT PRESS SERVICE)

The President of Uzbekistan, Shavkat Mirziyoyev also mediated between the two countries, and Russian Vladimir Putin said he was willing to do the same.

Recurring conflicts

Between the two countries there are differences on the demarcation of vast territories during the time of the Soviet Union, in particular with regard to the division of the fertile Fergana valley, which they also share with Uzbekistan. The drawing of borders separated some groups from their country of origin.

More than a third of the Kyrgyz border with Tajik is disputed, especially in the area around the Tajik enclave of Voruj, and rivalries have increased over access to water.

Both sides blamed themselves for the clashes.

ARCHIVE PHOTO: Photo of a building in honor of Vladimir Lenin, founder of the Soviet Union, in Kyrgyzstan.  REUTERS / Shamil Zhumatov / Photo Archive

ARCHIVE PHOTO: Photo of a building in honor of Vladimir Lenin, founder of the Soviet Union, in Kyrgyzstan. REUTERS / Shamil Zhumatov / Photo Archive

The Kyrgyz National Security Committee stated that TAyikistan had “deliberately provoked a conflict” at that point on the border and accused its opponent of having “installed positions to carry out deadly shots”.

For its part, the National Security Council of Tajikistan accused the Kyrgyz army of having opened fire on Tajik troops “Located at the Golovnaya water distribution site, upstream, on the Isfara river.”

Tajikistan said a conflict broke out between civilians the previous day and that seven Tajik were injured when stones were thrown at them.

In September 2019, several shootings resulted in the death of three Tajik border guards and a man from Kyrgyzstan.

Kyrgyz officers.  REUTERS / Vladimir Pirogov

Kyrgyz officers. REUTERS / Vladimir Pirogov

Rajmón met in July 2019 with the then president of Kyrgyzstan, Sooronbai Jeenbekov, and the two held a symbolic handshake in Isfara, Tajikistan.

But these negotiations on the “Delimitation of national borders” and “prevention and resolution of border conflicts” did not produce any results.

With information from AFP

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