One Tajik Border Guard Killed In Border Skirmish With Kyrgyz Guards

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A Tajik border guard has been shot dead in a clash with Kyrgyz guards along the volatile and poorly demarcated common border, RFE/RL's Tajik Service cited sources in the Dusti district near the Kyrgyz border as saying.

The Tajik Foreign Ministry, meanwhile, said the commander of Tajikistan’s Kekh border-guard point was severely wounded after the Kyrgyz side "suddenly opened gunfire and shelled the village of Vorukh with mortars."

The Tajik side "condemns the provocative actions of Kyrgyzstan's military and demand from the Kyrgyz side to undertake immediate measures to prevent similar incidents future," the Interior Ministry's statement said.

According to a statement by the Kyrgyz border guards, a shot was fired from the Tajik border post of Kekh in the direction of the Kyrgyz border checkpoint in the Bulak-Bashy area of the Kyrgyzstan's Batken region at around 7 a.m. (0100 GMT/UTC) on June 14.

The military there "returned fire in the direction of the Tajik outpost," the Kyrgyz statement said. It did not report any casualties on the Kyrgyz side.

Kyrgyz officials also said that the situation along the border remains tense.

Tajik authorities have not yet officially commented on the incident, but RFE/RL's Tajik Service quoted sources as saying that a 26-year-old Tajik border guard was killed in the exchange of fire.

Both sides said border guard commanders and local governors held talks regarding the incident.

Kekh is close to the Tajik border city of Isfara, where several troops on both sides were wounded in a similar incident on June 3.

Many border areas in Central Asia have been disputed since the Soviet Union's collapse.

The situation is particularly complicated near the numerous exclaves in the volatile Ferghana Valley, where the borders of Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan meet.

Almost half of the 970-kilometer Kyrgyz-Tajik border has yet to be demarcated, leading to repeated tensions since the two countries gained independence three decades ago.

In April, a Tajik border guard died of wounds he sustained in a shoot-out, while two Kyrgyz border guards and four Kyrgyz civilians were wounded.

In April 2021, clashes involving military personnel along the Tajik-Kyrgyz border left dozens of people dead on both sides.

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