Dozens Injured In Kyrgyzstan-Tajikistan Border Clashes, Countries Trade Allegations Of Shelling

The Kyrgyzstan-Tajikistan Border is a tense area. Last year, at least 55 people died in border clashes that almost led to war-like conditions between the two countries.

Representative photo

Dozens of people were injured in the border areas of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan on Friday in clashes between the two countries.

Soldiers of the two countries traded allegations of firing, shelling, and attacks on civilian and public infrastructure living in the border areas.

The Kyrgyz Health Ministry reported on Friday that clashes have wounded 31 people who have been hospitalised. 

Kyrgyz border service said the fighting erupted early on Friday morning when Tajik forces fired at Kyrgyz border guards. As tensions mounted, the Kyrgyz border service accused Tajikistan of using mortars, tanks, and armoured vehicles to shell Kyrgyzstan's positions, as well as shelling an airport in the town of Batken near the border from multiple rocket launchers and destroying civilian infrastructure.

Reports of Tajik occupation within Kyrgyz borders have also surfaced on the internet.

Tajik border officials, meanwhile, claimed that the Kyrgyz forces attacked Tajik villages near the border with "intensive mortar bombardment and shelling" from "all types of available heavy weapons and firearms". Tajik authorities said they proposed negotiations and a cease-fire, but Kyrgyz troops reportedly ignored the offers.

It was not immediately clear what ignited the clashes. However, the serpentine Tajikistan-Kyrgyzstan border is often a tense area. In 2021, at least 55 people died in clashes that erupted near the border in a dispute over water rights and the installation of surveillance cameras by Tajikistan.

"Clashes over the poorly demarcated border between the two former Soviet republics are frequent, but usually de-escalate quickly, although last year they almost led to an all-out war," reported Reuters.

The Kyrgyz parliament on Friday announced plans to hold an emergency session to discuss the situation on the border.

NEXTA reported that while a ceasefire has been agreed to between the two countries, residents in the border areas continue to report shelling.

Both Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and their leaders are currently participating in the ongoing SCO Summit in Samarkand in Uzbekistan. Moreover, both the countries are Russian allies.

Reuters reported that at least three people have been killed in the fighting and border areas have also seen evacuation. It added that the fighting has been going on in the region for two days.

(With AP inputs)