One Tajik border guard was killed and two others wounded in a clash with Kyrgyz border guards.  As usual, Kyrgyz and Tajik authorities are blaming each other for the latest clashes and shootings along a disputed segment of the mutual border.

The incident reportedly took place in Chorkuh jamoat of the Isfara district Thursday (March 10) morning at 10:00 am.

“Kyrgyz border guards entered Vahdat area in Tajik territory and demanded that Tajik border guards leave this territory.  There was a verbal altercation, Kyrgyz border guards were the first to open fire, ours responded to the fire,”  a local resident told Asia-Plus over the phone Thursday afternoon.  

“As a result of exchange of gunfire, one Tajik border guard was killed and two others wounded.  Several Tajik farmers were also wounded,” the source said.  

According to him, law enforcement officers of both countries are currently working in the scene of incident, ”the still situation remains tense.”

Health workers from the Isfara central city hospital have confirmed information about the deceased border guard and wounded people. 

Meanwhile, citing Kyrgyzstan’s border service, says Tajik border guards while on a routine patrol along the undepicted stretch of the border in Teskey area in Batken district changed the previously used route of patrol and “entered new frontier of border protection and demanded that Kyrgyz border guards leave that stretch.”  

“Reinforcements arrived at the Tajik border guards.  Using numerical superiority, Tajik border guards tried to reach a new frontier.  However, Kyrgyz border guards did not allow Tajik servicemen to realize their intentions.  As a result, a shootout began, which lasted about 10 minutes.  As a result of the skirmish, there were no wounded on the Kyrgyz side,” Kyrgyz border service was cited as saying.  

It is also noted that a telephone conversation took place between the border representatives of the parties and they are negotiating.

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.