Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan border conflict escalates

In an escalating border conflict that has resulted in at least three deaths and 27 injuries since fighting broke out two days ago, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan have accused each other on Friday of employing heavy weaponry such as tanks and mortars. The fighting has been going on between the two countries for the past two days.

According to the border guard agency of Kyrgyzstan, Tajik soldiers started fire on several of Kyrgyzstan’s outposts early on Friday morning in a contested mountainous border area. The Tajik forces reportedly used tanks, armored personnel carriers, and mortars in their attacks.

Tajikistani soldiers have occupied a school in the Kyrgyzstani village of Dostluk. According to representatives from the Kyrgyz government, there have been a significant number of casualties.

In response, Tajikistan accused Kyrgyz forces of using “heavy weaponry” to shell an outpost and seven villages in the same region. The region was the scene of similar hostilities a year ago, which came dangerously close to escalating into a full-blown war.

Overnight, Kyrgyzstan’s southern Batken province, which borders Tajikistan’s northern Sughd area and has a Tajik exclave known as Vorukh and has been a significant flashpoint in recent wars, reported that 31 people had been injured in the fighting.

As violence continued in the area, the Kyrgyz authorities said that they were evacuating some border communities. According to the administration of Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan and Tajik foreign ministers have discussed the issue, but the Kyrgyz border guard service has stated that two previous ceasefire agreements have already failed.

Both nations play an important role for Moscow’s influence in Asia and are home to Russian military bases.

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