The border conflict between Kyrgyzstan and Tajik escalated using heavy weapons

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  • Authorities said a Tajik civilian was killed
  • Kyrgyz authorities evacuate villages
  • The two presidents are attending the summit

BISHKEK (Reuters) – Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan accused each other on Friday of using heavy weapons such as tanks and mortars in an escalating border conflict that has killed at least three people and wounded 27 since the fighting broke out two days ago.

Kyrgyzstan’s border guards said Tajik forces opened fire again on a number of their outposts early Friday morning in a disputed mountainous border area, where Tajik forces used tanks, armored personnel carriers and mortars. Read more

In turn, Tajikistan accused Kyrgyz forces of bombing a settlement outpost and seven villages with “heavy weapons” in the same region, which is famous for its ethno-linguistic geography and became the site of similar hostilities last year, almost leading to war.

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Authorities in the Tajik city of Asfara said one civilian was killed and three wounded. Kyrgyzstan reported that 31 people were injured overnight in the southern Batken province which borders northern Tajikistan’s Sughd region and includes Tajikistan’s Vorokh region, a major hotspot in recent conflicts.

Kyrgyz authorities said they were evacuating nearby villages as “heavy fighting” continued.

The Bishkek government said the foreign ministers of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan had discussed the matter, but the border guards said two ceasefire deals had already failed.

Kyrgyzstan President Sadir Gabarov and Tajikistan’s President Emomali Rahmon attend a regional security summit in Uzbekistan, appearing among the leaders in a group photo taken at dinner on Thursday.

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Clashes over the poorly demarcated border between the two former Soviet republics are frequent, but usually decline quickly, although in the past year they have almost led to an all-out war.

Both host Russian military bases and have close ties to Moscow, which has called for a cessation of hostilities this week.

The Collective Security Treaty Organization, a Russia-led security bloc that includes Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, said its leadership was in contact with the two governments on Friday.

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(Reporting by Olga Dzyubenko) Additional reporting by Nazarali Bernazarov in Dushanbe; Writing by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Clarence Fernandez, Guy Faulconbridge and Frank Jack Daniel

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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