MOSCOW (AP) — Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan on Friday agreed to a cease-fire on a shared border where clashes earlier in the day wounded dozens of people.
The Kyrgyz border service said in a statement that the two countries’ security chiefs agreed to cease the hostilities starting from 4 p.m. local time (1000 GMT). According to Kyrgyz health officials, a total 42 people have been hospitalized with injuries in Kyrgyzstan as the result of the clashes.
According to the Kyrgyz border service, the fighting erupted early in the morning, when Tajik forces fired at Kyrgyz border guards. As tensions mounted, the border service accused Tajikistan of using mortars, tanks and armored vehicles to shell Kyrgyzstan’s positions, as well as shelling an airport in the town of Batken near the border with multiple rocket launchers and destroying civilian infrastructure.
Tajik border officials, meanwhile, charged that the Kyrgyz forces subjected Tajik villages near the border “to intensive mortar bombardment and shelling” from “all types of available heavy weapons and firearms.” Tajik authorities said they proposed negotiations and a cease-fire, but Kyrgyz troops reportedly ignored the offers.
It was not immediately clear what ignited the clashes. However, the serpentine Tajikistan-Kyrgyzstan border is often a tense area. In 2021, at least 55 people died in clashes that erupted near the border in a dispute over water rights and the installation of surveillance cameras by Tajikistan.
The Kyrgyz parliament on Friday announced plans to hold an emergency session to discuss the situation on the border.