Tajikistan Says Kyrgyzstan Hides Military Hardware Close To Border, Despite Cease-Fire Deal
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Tajikistan has accused Kyrgyzstan of continuing to keep military hardware at the two Central Asian nations’ common border following last week’s deadly clashes, a charge denied by the Kyrgyz authorities, who say the situation along the border is calm.
In its September 21 statement, the Tajik Foreign Ministry said “the Kyrgyz side creates a false appearance of withdrawal of troops and heavy military equipment from the line of contact and hides them in border settlements in the Leilek and Chon-Alai districts of the Batken Province of Kyrgyzstan,” also accusing Kyrgyzstan of “numerous violations” of Tajikistan’s airspace by drones.
For its part, Kyrgyzstan’s State Committee for National Security (UKMK) said in a statement on September 21 that the situation along the border is quiet, in accordance with the cease-fire agreements.
A day earlier, Bishkek and Dushanbe issued differing assessments of the situation, which Bishkek said had “normalized” while Dushanbe said it remained “complicated.”
On September 19, the sides signed a protocol that reportedly paves the way for a complete cessation of hostilities and withdrawal of troops.
Kyrgyz officials say 59 of its citizens died in the recent clashes and 183 others were injured. Tajikistan has put its death toll at 41, but correspondents of RFE/RL’s Tajik Service reported a higher number after talking to relatives and friends of the people killed during the clashes. They concluded that 63 people, about half of whom were civilians, lost their lives and compiled a list of those killed.
The sides have set up a joint working commission to monitor and implement the agreement.
Many border areas in Central Asia have been disputed since the Soviet Union’s collapse in 1991.
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 more than three decades ago.
Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.