Another shootout broke out along the contested segment of the volatile Tajik-Kyrgyz border today morning at around 6:00 am Tajik time.  As usual, each side blames the other for starting the shooting.  

A resident of Vorukh jamoat (an exclave surrounded by Kyrgyzstan that forms part of the city of Isfara in Tajikistan’s northern Sughd province), told Asia-Plus today morning that gunfire erupted in the Kekh area, some 10 kilometers of the jamoat administrative center, today at around 6:00 am.

“A Tajik conscript soldier was killed in the shootout.  He was taken to the morgue of the hospital in Vorukh,” the source added.

Meanwhile, Kyrgyz media reports blamed Tajik border guards for starting the shooting. 

Kyrgyz news agency reports that according to some source, a shot was fired from the Tajik side today at about 7 am Kyrgyz time (6:00am Tajik time – Asia-Plus) “for unknown reason.”  In response, the Kyrgyz side reportedly fired one shot into the air.  The shooting continued until 7:50 am and it ended after negotiations. According to preliminary data, the Tajik side used grenade launchers and mortars, added. 

Kyrgyz border service has already released a statement, according to which, a shot was fired from frontier post “Kekh” on the Tajik side of the border towards Kyrgyz frontier post “Bulak-Bahsi” in Kyrgyzstan’s Batken region at around 7:00 am Kyrgyz time.   In response, the Kyrgyz side also fired a return shot in the direction of the Tajik frontier post, AKIpress cited Kyrgyz border service as saying.  

Kyrgyz media reports say Kyrgyz and Tajik border representatives have already held phone talks and commanders of boarder units deployed in Tajik Sughd province and Kyrgyz Batken region went to the scene of incident.  

Tajik authorities have yet to comment on the incident. 

Recall, the previous incident also took place practically in the same area on June 3, and three servicemen, one Tajik border guard and two Kyrgyz border guards, were wounded in that gunfire.  

Tajikistan’s common border with Kyrgyzstan, which is 970 kilometers in length, has been the scene of unrest repeatedly since the collapse of the Soviet Union.  It has been difficult to demarcate the Kyrgyz-Tajik border because over the course of some 100 years Soviet mapmakers drew and redrew the Kyrgyz-Tajik border, incorporating land that had traditionally belonged to one people in the territory of the other Soviet republic.  Exclaves appeared and temporary land use agreements were signed.

All of this survived the collapse of the Soviet Union and people in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan have various Soviet-era maps they use to justify their claim to specific areas along the border.

Border talks between Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan began in 2002.  The border delineation problem has led to conflicts between rival ethnic communities.

To-date, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan have held more than 170 meetings and negotiations on delimitation and demarcation of the common border.

Kyrgyz President Sadyr Japarov said in an exclusive interview with Kabar news agency on April 25 that the parties have agreed on 600 kilometers [of the mutual border] and they have another 300 kilometers left to delimit and demarcate.