Tajik-Kyrgyz border clashes claim over 90 lives

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan (AFP) — 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 neighbors was, however, calm on Sunday afternoon, according to Kyrgyz authorities.

Clashes regularly erupt between the two former Soviet republics, as around half of their 970-kilometer 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.

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 later.

Tens of thousands of people were evacuated from Kyrgyz border regions over the past days, according to non-government organizations.

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

The country declared 19 September a national day of mourning.

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