Shooting breaks out between Kyrgyz, Tajik border guards

File photo of an armoured vehicle damaged in previous clashes between the two countries in 2021. PHOTO: REUTERS

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan – Kyrgyz and Tajik border guards exchanged fire in three separate incidents on Wednesday after a border dispute, officials on both sides said.

The clash, which takes place on the eve of a regional security body meeting and against the background of fighting between Russia and Ukraine, as well as Azerbaijan and Armenia, started after Kyrgyz border guards accused the Tajiks of taking positions at a part of the border that has not been demarcated.

Both Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are allied with Russia and host Russian military bases, but fighting over border issues is frequent.  Last year almost resulted in an all-out war between the two former Soviet republics.

The Tajik side said in a statement Kyrgyz border guards opened unprovoked gun and mortar fire on their outpost. 

Tajikistan’s border force said one border guard was killed in the incident and another two were injured.

Kyrgyzstan said two of its servicemen were wounded, and that two more incidents took place in different border areas, although all three shootouts happened along the Batken province border. 

Kyrgyz and Tajik leaders are expected to attend a summit of the Shanghai Security Organisation in Uzbekistan this week alongside Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping, as well as a host of other world leaders. REUTERS

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