Kyrgyz and Tajik border guards clashed over a border dispute, Reuters reported. The agency has not reported any casualties. According to Sputnik, however, two people were killed and wounded, and the information was confirmed by RIA Novosti. This is the third conflict between the two former Soviet republics in the last few months.
The clash, which came just before an important regional meeting amid the war in Ukraine and clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenia, began after Kyrgyz border guards accused their Tajik counterparts of taking up positions on a part of the border that not demarcated.
According to the Kyrgyz border service, the conflict began at the initiative of the Tajik border guards, who, seeing their colleagues, took combat positions and opened fire, ignoring requests to leave the territory.
Tajikistan claims that Kyrgyz border guards started firing first with firearms and mortars at a Tajik border post, killing one of their border guards and wounding two others, RIA Novosti reported.
The parties have already held phone conversations and are planning a meeting to prevent the conflict from escalating. And Russia urged them to immediately control the situation.
Both Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are allies of Russia. There are Russian military bases in both countries, but there are frequent clashes along their border, and war was narrowly avoided last year.
The leaders of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are expected to attend this week’s Shanghai Cooperation Organization meeting alongside Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
The two former Soviet republics share a 900-kilometer strip. However, about half of it is not demarcated, which creates problems for the residents of the two countries along the border with access to water, pastures and roads. The disputed areas are about 30% of the length of the border between them.
The conflict is said to have started over the Golovnoe water distribution point in the upper reaches of the Isfara River, near the Tajik village of Khoja A’lo and the Kyrgyz village of Kyok-Tash. The authorities of both countries believe that he is on their territory. In the spring and summer, when agricultural work begins, water consumption increases tenfold, and conflicts between Kyrgyz and Tajik citizens escalate.