Negotiations between Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan with participation of the countries’ security officials over the border clashes that began in Chorkuh jamoat, which is subordinate to the Tajik northern city of Isfara (Sughd province), on January 28 continue next day and the parties reportedly agreed to start implementing the protocol of May 1, 2021 in eight days.

“In the course of the negotiations to resolve the border conflict, the parties have agreed to actually implement Protocol No 3 signed by the parties on May 1, 2021,” Saymumin Yatimov, the head of the State Committee for National Security of Tajikistan (SCNS) of Tajikistan, stated at a briefing on January 29 after negotiations with his Kyrgyz counterpart Kamchybek Tashiyev.

“We have agreed to take into consideration the basic documents, signed as a result of the work of our parity commissions, during negotiations.  We have agreed that protocols requirements must be strictly implemented,” said Kamchybek Tashiyev, the head of the Kyrgyz State Committee for National Security, known as the GKNB.  

According to him, the parties agreed to start implementing the protocol of May 1, 2021 in eight days.  

Meanwhile says that during a meeting with residents of Batken region Tashiyev noted on January 29 that Kyrgyzstan is committed to a peaceful resolution of the border issue.

He reportedly noted that civilians suffer because of the conflicts on the border and the state bears heavy costs.  “Until we resolve the border issue, not complete the delimitation and demarcation, there will be conflicts. These are huge expenses for the state, losses for citizens,” Tashiyev said.

He noted that the interests of both countries would be taken into account when determining the border line.  “The government commission has agreed on 69.2 kilometers to Maity site in Leilek district.  They will continue.  If there are disputes, we will sit down and decide.  The interests of both republics will be taken into account. First, we will resolve the issues in Leilek district, then in Orto-Bos, Tash-Tumshuk, Kok-Tash,” he added.

Tashiyev reportedly reaffirmed that the border with Tajikistan would be opened after the demarcation is completed. 

The latest clashes erupted along a segment on the countries’ mutual border on January 27. 

The press center of Tajikistan’s Main Border Guard Directorate reported Friday (January 28) morning that two Tajik nationals were killed and at least ten others, including 6 border guards and 4 civilians, were wounded in the fighting.

The Kyrgyz side says eleven Kyrgyz nationals were wounded in the fighting.  

The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) that includes both Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan said its secretary-general held talks with officials from both sides in an attempt to halt the fighting.

CSTO Secretary-General Stanislav Zas reportedly had telephone conversation with Tajikistan’s Security Council Secretary Nasrullo Mahmoudzoda and his Kyrgyz counterpart Marat Imankuov Thursday night and “called for an immediate ceasefire between the parties on the border of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.”

In the early hours of January 28, at 01:00 am, competent agencies of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan held talks in Tajikistan’s Surkh jamoat and reached a full cease-fire. 

Both countries accused each other of starting the clashes in the Tort-Kocho area in Kyrgyzstan’s western Batken region.

According to a statement released Tajikistan’s SCNS, the Kyrgyz side fired at Tajik “residents, vehicles, and facilities.”

Kyrgyzstan’s security officials said the conflict started when Tajik citizens blocked a road crossing the disputed segment of the border.  Kyrgyz border guards deployed along this segment of the border in Batken region were put on alert. Tajik military used mortars and grenade launchers.” 

Recall, a similar clash that erupted along the disputed segment of the Tajik-Kyrgyz border in April last year left dozens of people dead on both sides. 

Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan have not yet resolved the border delineation problem.  Many border areas in Central Asia have been disputed since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.  The situation is particularly complicated near the numerous exclaves in the Fergana Valley, where the borders of Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan meet.

The border of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan has been the scene of unrest repeatedly since the collapse of the former 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.  Only slightly more than half of the 970 kilometers of border shared by the two countries has been demarcated despite decades of attempts to bring the matter to a close.  The border delineation problem has led to conflicts between rival ethnic communities.