Dhe heavy fighting in the border dispute between the two ex-Soviet republics of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan in Central Asia is coming to a head. On the Kyrgyz side there are fatalities among both soldiers and civilians, according to the National Security Council in the capital Bishkek on Friday. The Kyrgyz Ministry of Health reported 24 deaths late in the evening. The country’s parliament also wanted to meet for a crisis meeting in the evening. It cannot be ruled out that a state of war will be declared, said MP Dastan Bekeshev.
According to the authorities, around 120,000 people were brought to safety from the Kyrgyz region of Batken near the border. Both the authoritarian Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, which despite setbacks is considered comparatively democratic, reported ongoing fighting. Both sides blame each other for the escalation. On the sidelines of a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Uzbekistan, also in Central Asia, the presidents of the two high-mountain countries met for talks.
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union more than 30 years ago, the two countries have been at odds at numerous points over the course of the approximately 1,000-kilometer border.
Conflicts that have been smoldering for years have also recently escalated in other regions of the post-Soviet space. A few days ago, for example, Azerbaijan attacked its neighbor Armenia in the South Caucasus. Observers fear that such tensions will increase because Russia, which actually has a strong military presence in the entire region, is currently engaged in the war against Ukraine.