Border representatives of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan held talks yesterday evening after an exchange of gunfire between border guards of the two countries earlier in the day killed one person and wounded two others. 

Officials from Tajikistan’s Sughd province and Kyrgyzstan’s Batken district reportedly also participated in the talks.

Kyrgyzstan’s, citing the border service of Kyrgyzstan, says the sides agreed at the talks to investigate the incident separately.

The preliminary results of the investigations are expected to be announced at the meeting of heads of border services of the two countries that is scheduled for March 12.

The side will continue carrying out explanatory work among residents of border areas.  

There has been no official statement from the Tajik side on the situation.

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.  One civilian was also wounded in the exchange of gunfire,” the source said.  

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 moved into a disputed area and demanded Kyrgyz guards leave the area.    

“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.   There were no casualties among the Kyrgyz border guards,” Kyrgyz border service was cited as saying.  

The incident took place less than two months after clashes erupted along a segment of the two countries' poorly demarcated border in a standoff over a blocked road in late January.

Tajikistan's State Committee for National Security said at the time that two civilians were killed and 10 people wounded, including six security personnel and four civilians.

Kyrgyz authorities said 12 Kyrgyz were seriously wounded and more than 24,200 Kyrgyz were evacuated from the area of the fighting.

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.