a ceasefire announced after “intense fighting” on the border

Kyrgyzstan announced a ceasefire with Tajikistan on Friday (September 16) from 4 pm local time (12 pm Paris time), the Kyrgyz Border Guard Service reported in a statement, after about border conflict between these two countries in Central Asia that caused more than thirty. injuries.

Earlier, Kyrgyzstan accused Tajikistan of shelling a border town on Friday, September 16 with heavy weapons. When skirmishes regularly occur on the border between these two former Soviet republics that have been involved for years in a territorial dispute, this violence marks an unusual escalation.

The development comes as the leaders of the two countries, Kyrgyz President Sadyr Japarov and his Tajik counterpart, Emomali Rahmon, are currently attending a regional Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Uzbekistan. They even posed together in a group photo on Thursday night.

According to Bishkek, Tajik forces on Friday attacked the border town of Batken, located in southwestern Kyrgyzstan, in an area disputed by the two countries. “The area around the Batken airport and the [lieux] located outside the city was fired from several rocket launcher systems. The civilian infrastructure of Batken town was destroyed”Kyrgyz border guards said in a statement.

For its part, the Kyrgyz Ministry of Health announced that thirty-one people were hospitalized on Friday, according to an updated report that has grown rapidly. At least four soldiers were victims of “gunshot wounds”according to regional authorities.

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“Strong Battles”

The State Committee for National Security of Kyrgyzstan reported that “intense battle” and “brutal” occurred in the border area, accusing Tajikistan of “bomb Kyrgyz territory with all available arsenal” and continue to deploy “heavy equipment”.

He reported the use of “heavy armor, lots of rocket launchers and aviation” through Tajikistan. “All ground and air attacks found their response from the Kyrgyz side, preventing any capture of territory”he added.

Tajikistan, for its part, accused Kyrgyz forces of firing early Friday on Tajik border posts, without immediately reporting casualties among its ranks. Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported that one Tajik border guard was killed and three border guards were injured. This report has not been confirmed by official sources.

Civilian flight, opening of reception centers

According to Kyrgyz diplomacy, the foreign ministers of the two countries met to try to end the hostilities. Residents of several border villages fled the combat zone, the Kyrgyz Ministry of Emergency Situations also reported, announcing the opening of reception centers.

“We call on both parties to take comprehensive and urgent measures to (…) end all attempts to advance and challenge third parties”the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Earlier this week, clashes between the two countries left two Tajik border guards dead and many injured on both sides. The border between Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan is the scene of frequent deadly clashes.

Almost half of the 970 km border is disputed and progress on demarcation has been slow in recent years. The year 2021 saw an unprecedented number of clashes between the two sides, which left more than fifty dead and raised fears of an expansion of the conflict.

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The World with AFP

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