Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan trade accusations of border destabilisation

AFP , Wednesday 19 Oct 2022

Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan accused each other of stirring tensions on their shared border, raising fears of military escalation one month after deadly clashes between the two Central Asian countries.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, centre, Kyrgyz President Sadyr Japarov, left, and Tajikistan s Pre
Russian President Vladimir Putin, centre, Kyrgyz President Sadyr Japarov, left, and Tajikistan s President Emomali Rahmon meet on the sidelines of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) summit, in Astana, Kazakhstan, Thursday, Oct. 13, 2022. AP


Clashes regularly erupt between the two former Soviet republics, as some of their 970-kilometre (600-mile) border has been contested since the end of the Soviet Union.

Border authorities from both sides published press releases Wednesday, with photos and videos, accusing each other of using drones, digging trenches and transferring military staff and weapons to the border.

Tajikistan's border guard service accused Kyrgyzstan of "deliberate actions to escalate the situation in the border areas", the Khovar news agency reported.

It accused Kyrgyzstan of repeated "violations" of Tajik airspace, including near the town of Isfara close to Batken.

Kyrgyzstan in turn said Tajik forces were "continuing to take measures that could act as a catalyst for a new border conflict".

Kyrgzystan's defence ministry said Wednesday that peace with Tajikistan was not possible under the current circumstances.

Fighting last month in the southern Kyrgyz region of Batken, bordering Tajikistan, left around a hundred dead according to authorities from both sides.

Both Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan are members of the Russia-led Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO), a regional military alliance.

Kyrgyz Defence Minister Baktybek Bekbolotov said Wednesday that he recently met with CSTO Secretary-General Stanislav Zas and "told him that there would be no peace between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan".

"Kyrgyz people have their truth, Tajik people have theirs," Bekbolotov told a press conference in the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek.

"Until an arbitrator comes between us, there will be no peace," he added.

He suggested the deployment of a "small contingent" of CSTO peacekeepers that would carry out "ceasefire control and the withdrawal of heavy equipment from the border".

According to the minister, Kyrgyzstan is also purchasing S-125 "Pechora-2BM" missile systems from Belarus, which will be delivered "by the end of the month" and deployed in the boder town of Batken.

A spokesperson for the Kyrgyz parliament told Russian news agency TASS that on Thursday lawmakers will consider a bill facilitating the procedure for firearms permits in the border regions with Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

Earlier this week, Kyrgyz President Sadyr Japarov asked his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to help resolve the border dispute.

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