Fighting on the Kyrgyz-Tajik border has resulted in injuries to 42 people, the Ministry of Health of Kyrgyzstan announced on Sep. 16. Medical facilities in the border region of Batken had been put on alert. It appealed to border-region residents to donate blood.
The situation on the Kyrgyz-Tajik border began to escalate on Sep. 14, when there were several shootings. The main reason for regular conflicts between the two countries is the absence of a clearly-defined border.
Both Kyrgyzstan and Tajikstan blamed each other for the fighting. They each said the other had used heavy weapons.
According to the Ministry of Health of Kyrgyzstan, the Tajik military began shelling the city of Batken with multiple launch rocket systems. In response, the Kyrgyz army attacked the border posts of Tajikistan.
In turn, Tajikistan claims that Kyrgyz border guards attacked several Tajik settlements.
“At 4:50 (2:50 Kyiv time), employees of the Koktosh border post of the Batken border detachment of Kyrgyzstan, violating the agreement with the use of heavy weapons, fired at the Dushanbe border post of the Isfara border detachment of the Republic of Tajikistan,” the State Committee for National Security of Tajikistan stated.
Earlier, the border guard service said: “violent clashes” had broken out “along the entire perimeter” of the Kyrgyz-Tajik border in the Batken region.
Kyrgyzstan authorities accused Tajikistan of using heavy weapons, including jets, but said its forces were repelling the attacks, “making it impossible for them to capture settlements in Kyrgyzstan.”
The latest fighting has raised fears of yet another conflict in the ex-Soviet region, with clashes this week between Armenia and Azerbaijan leaving more than 200 dead.
According to the same state committee, about 10 settlements were damaged.
The committee also said that at 6:30 (4:30 Kyiv time), the parties agreed to declare a ceasefire, but Kyrgyzstan continued firing “from all types of military weapons and equipment.”
In turn, the Ministry of Foreign affairs of Kyrgyzstan submitted a note of protest to Tajikistan over the border fighting, accusing the Tajik side of attacking border and civilian facilities.
In addition, Kyrgyzstan accused Tajikistan of violating agreements and carrying out a “treacherous attack.” But the border guard service called on Tajikistan to “cease-fire and directed all efforts to de-escalate the armed conflict.”
“All this shows that the Tajik authorities cannot control the situation. Moreover, it contributes to an escalation of armed clashes, which leads to both human casualties and damages the civilian infrastructure of both countries,” the State Committee for National Security of Kyrgyzstan noted.
On the afternoon of September 16, it became known that Tajik service members shelled several border areas in the Batken region of Kyrgyzstan. Because of this, mass evacuation of residents from that area began.
But later, a message was received from the Kyrgyz border service of the State Committee for National Security that the parties still agreed to resolve the conflict. Kamchibek Tashiev and Simumin Yatimov, the heads of the unique benefits of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, decided on September 16 to cease fire on the common border.
It is worth noting that even though both countries are part of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, an intergovernmental military bloc consisting of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Tajikistan, skirmishes on the Kyrgyz-Tajik border occur regularly. Russia, as a guarantor of the security of the organization’s member states, does not respond effectively to appeals to resolve the conflict.
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