On the night of September 16, an armed conflict broke out on the border between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. By morning, the parties agreed on a cease-fire, but clashes reportedly resumed along the entire border.
The sides accused each other of provocation.
The Tajik side fired at border guards and positions of the Kyrgyz military in the areas of Eki-Tash, Chyr-Dobo and Kum-Mazar and Ortho-Boz, after which mortar shelling of border areas began. After that, according to the statements of the Kyrgyz side, the Tajik military began shelling several districts of the Batken region. Kyrgyz soldiers returned fire.
According to the Kyrgyz Border Service, Tajik forces shelled the Batken airport and the areas nearby with rockets. The city’s civil infrastructure was damaged. A border guard was reportedly killed and 11 others were reportedly wounded in Tajikistan.
A T-72B tank of the Tajik Army destroyed in the border area :
Kyrgyz BMP2 in action:
Tajik Grad MLRS in action:
In turn, Tajikistan accused the Kyrgyz military of opening “intense fire from all types of weapons towards populated areas”. The press center of the Border Troops of the National Security Committee of Tajikistan stated that Kyrgyzstan “is trying to accuse Tajikistan of continuing the conflict through Internet networks, which has no real basis.”
Clashes took place in the Leilek and Batken districts of the Batken region of Kyrgyzstan and in the Isfara and Gafurov (bordering Leilek) districts of the Sughd region of Tajikistan.
Civilians are being evacuated from several border villages in Kyrgyzstan:
At about 10 am local time, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan reported that they had agreed on a ceasefire. However, Bishkek then claimed that the fire from Tajikistan had not stopped.
Tajik servicemen occupied a school building in the village of Dostuk in the Batken district of Kyrgyzstan, the Kyrgyz border service reported. The Kyrgyz side accused the Tajik military of opening fire from settlements in border villages, thereby causing retaliatory fire, and also using their civilians as a “human shield”.
The State Committee for National Security of Kyrgyzstan also stated that citizens in clothes without identification marks or signs of belonging to any armed formations are fighting on the side of Tajikistan.
The press center of the border troops of the National Security Committee of Tajikistan reported that the agency twice offered to resume negotiations on a ceasefire to Kyrgyz officials, but they ignored these proposals.
The heads of the state National security Committees of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan agreed on a ceasefire from 4 p.m. local time, the border service of Kyrgyzstan reported.
At least 42 Kyrgyz citizens were injured in the conflict. According to the Ministry of Health of the Republic, all of them were take to the hospitals with various injuries.
Both countries are members of the CSTO.
Secretary General of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) called on Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan to cease hostilities on the border. He held talks with Secretary of the Security Council of the Kyrgyz Republic Marat Imankulov and Secretary of the Security Council of the Republic of Tajikistan Nasrullo Mahmudzoda.
The Russian Foreign Ministry called on Dushanbe and Bishkek to take “urgent comprehensive measures” for a political and diplomatic settlement of the conflict.
The Presidents of Russia and Tajikistan, Vladimir Putin and Emomali Rahmon, also had a brief conversation before the start of the SCO summit in Samarkand on September 16.
President of Kyrgyzstan Sadyr Zhaparov and Head of the Republic of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon met on the sidelines of the SCO summit and coordinateв the withdrawal of forces from the border territories where an armed conflict broke out this morning.
A special commission will be set up by law enforcement agencies to investigate the causes of the incident. The parties also reached an agreement to accelerate work on the delimitation and demarcation of the state borders of the two republics.
The length of the border of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan is approximately 970 km, the procedures for its demarcation after the collapse of the USSR have not been completed. There is still no agreement between the two countries on 460 of the 970 km of the border. The sides declare their claims to particular territories, as a result conflicts arise between local residents.
Clashes on the border also broke out in mid-June, and at the end of January. Bishkek and Dushanbe managed to agree on a complete cease-fire and the withdrawal of additional forces and means drawn to the border.
The new escalation on the border between Tajikistan and Kirgizstan took place amid new clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan. While Russian military operations continue in Ukraine, regions on its southern border inflamed. The involvement of the third parties in the ongoing conflicts in cEntral Asia should not be excluded. Washington and its Western allies have significant influence in the region both through the NGO networks and local media. They have means of influence on such conflict situations.