KYRGYZSTAN: On Friday, Kyrgyzstan reported “heavy skirmishes” with Tajikistan, a neighbouring country in Central Asia, and said 24 people had died in the most recent wave of violence to rock the former Soviet Union.
Despite a ceasefire agreement, the two tiny, impoverished, landlocked countries have accused one another of resuming hostilities in a disputed region.
The Kyrgyz border agency issued a statement stating that its personnel were continuing to rebuff Tajik attacks. It stated that “from the Tajik side, shelling of the positions of the Kyrgyz side continues, and in certain spots, heavy fights are going on.”
Later, according to the Kyrgyz health ministry, 24 people died and 87 had been injured. It wasn’t specified how many of the victims were service members.
According to the Russian news agency RIA, Kamchybek Tashiev, the director of the Kyrgyz state council for national security, there have been a lot of military casualties.
As reported by Interfax, the Kyrgyz Ministry of Emergency claimed that more than 136,000 individuals had been rescued from the war area.
Satyr Japarov, the President of Kyrgyzstan, and Emomali Rakhmon, the President of Tajikistan, had earlier in the day reached an agreement at a regional conference in Uzbekistan to order a truce and a troop withdrawal, according to Japarov’s administration.
Fighting was reported in Kyrgyzstan’s southern Batken province, which borders Tajikistan’s northern Sughd region and contains the Tajik exclave of Vorukh. The same region, known for its complex political and ethnic topography, was the scene of similar clashes last year that came dangerously close to starting a war.
Although there are frequent clashes over the ill-defined border, they typically end swiftly.
The Soviet attempt to partition Central Asia into groupings, whose settlements were frequently mixed in with those of other nationalities, led to many of the boundary disputes that exist today.
Russian military installations are found in both nations. Moscow had earlier on Friday called for an end to hostilities. At the same time that Russian troops are engaged in combat in Ukraine, a fresh truce appears to be holding between Armenia and Azerbaijan, two former Soviet states.
According to Kyrgyzstan, Tajik forces used tanks, armoured personnel carriers, and mortars to shell the airport of the Kyrgyz town of Batken and surrounding areas after entering at least one Kyrgyz village.
Tajikistan, in turn, claimed that Kyrgyz forces had used “heavy weaponry” to bombard a post and seven villages.
Temur Umarov, a fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, asserted that while the isolated settlements at the centre of the conflict were not economically significant, both sides had overstated their political significance.
It was difficult to exchange land to end the conflict, according to Umarov, who claimed that both administrations had grown dependent on what he called “populist, nationalist rhetoric.”
Alexander Knyazev, a different expert focused on Central Asia, claimed that the conflict’s parties had no interest in a peaceful resolution and that the rival territorial claims had sparked aggressive behaviour at all levels.
He stated that only outside peacekeepers could create a demilitarised zone to stop future wars.