13 Dead, 121 Injured In Border Conflict Between Kyrgyzstan & Tajikistan

The recent escalation of tensions on the border between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan has left 13 Kyrgyz citizens killed, and 121 more injured, the Kyrgyz Ministry of Health said on Friday.

“As of 7:50 a.m. [01:50 GMT], the total number of those injured as a result of the incident on the Kyrgyz-Tajik border stands at 134, with 13 of them having died,” a spokesperson for the ministry said.

He noted that 25 injured people had already been delivered to the capital of Bishkek to receive proper treatment. Two hospitalized people are in critical condition, others are in a satisfactory one, the ministry added.

On Wednesday, the border services of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan clashed on the Batken section of the border after the Tajik side tried to install CCTV cameras on the poles of the power line. The Kyrgyz side attempted to cut the pole, and the troops entered a fight.

The conflict escalated on Thursday night as the sides started using firearms. After a period of armed confrontation, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan agreed on a ceasefire and announced plans to organize joint groups to patrol the border.

The Kyrgyz-Tajik section of the state border from time to time becomes a conflict zone between the local population or border guards of the two countries due to the lack of formal delineation.

Earlier, additional forces and assets are being pulled up to the Kyrgyz-Tajik border on both sides, the Kyrgyz State Border Service of Kyrgyzstan told Sputnik on Thursday.

“At about 17.00 [11.00 GMT], the Tajik side opened fire at the border posts Kapchygay, Min-Bulak, Dostuk, as well as at the border posts Kozhogar and Bulak-Bashi. As a result of mortar shelling, the building of the Dostuk frontier outpost of the Batken frontier detachment caught fire,” the service’s spokesman said.

“In response to the actions of the Tajik security officials, the border service’s Boru special-purpose detachment seized the Khoja Allo frontier post of the Republic of Tajikistan,” he said.

“Along the entire perimeter of the Kyrgyz-Tajik state border, additional forces and means are being pulled up on both sides,” he added.