More than 90 dead in Tajik-Kyrgyz border clashes

At least 94 people were

killed in clashes between Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan this week, in the worst
violence the countries have seen in years, while the international community
called for calm.

The situation on the contested border between the two Central Asian
neighbours was, however, calm on Sunday afternoon, according to Kyrgyz

Clashes regularly erupt between the two former Soviet republics, as around
half of their 970-kilometre (600-mile) border is still to be demarcated.

Tajikistan said on Sunday that 35 of its citizens were killed, the first
official death toll since armed clashes broke out on Wednesday.

On its Facebook page, the Tajik foreign ministry also reported 25 injured and
said civilians, women, and children were among the victims.

The ministry accused Kyrgyz soldiers of killing 12 people in a drone strike
on a mosque, six others in an attack against a school and another seven when
an ambulance came under fire.

AFP was not able independently to verify the claims.

Meanwhile, Kyrgyzstan said Sunday 59 people had died in the southern border
region of Batken, and 144 had been injured.

Tens of thousands of people were evacuated from Kyrgyz border regions over
the past days, according to NGOs.

Kyrgyzstan’s emergency situations minister added on Sunday that four Kyrgyz
soldiers were reported missing.

The country declared September 19 a national day of mourning.

– ‘Lasting ceasefire’ –

This toll by far surpasses figures from April 2021, when clashes left 50 dead
and raised fears of a large-scale conflict.

The two sides agreed a ceasefire Friday and Tajikistan’s President Emomali
Rahmon met his Kyrgyz counterpart Sadyr Japarov at a summit in Uzbekistan.

But the two countries traded blame for ceasefire violations only a few hours

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday called for “no further escalation”
between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan in phone calls with the leaders of the
Central Asian nations.

Putin also urged them to “take steps to resolve the situation as soon as
possible by exclusively peaceful, political and diplomatic means”, according
to a statement from the Kremlin.

Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are part of the Russia-led Collective Security
Treaty Organisation (CSTO) but they regularly clash.

Still, the situation appears to be stabilising.

On Sunday afternoon, the Kyrgyz authorities issued a statement saying the
situation at the border “remains calm, trending towards stabilisation”.

“There were no recorded escalation attempts or shots fired on the border. The
parties are maintaining their ceasefire agreement and withdrawing their
respective troops,” the statement added.

On Saturday, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres had called on
the leadership of both sides “to engage in dialogue for a lasting ceasefire”,
said a spokesman.

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