Kyrgyz border guards did not allow 200 Tajik nationals to leave the Somon Air plane at Bishkek airport yesterday. 

Tajikistan’s privately owned air carrier Somon Air on May 25 operated a charter flight from Dushanbe to Bishkek, which was organized by Kyrgyz tour operator Esal Travel Group.

After the plane landed at Bishkek airport, Kyrgyz border guard did not allowed Tajik nationals to leave the plane, a source within the Kyrgyz tour operator told Asia-Plus today morning by phone.

According to the source, of about 200 passengers on board, only 8 foreign citizens were allowed to leave the plane, while the Tajik nationals were forced to return to Dushanbe by the same flight.

Moreover, more than 100 travelers, who were supposed to fly to Dushanbe on the same flight, have been stranded at Bishkek airport.  

“In connection with the statement of the Kyrgyz authorities on the complete closure of the border with Tajikistan, we have contacted the Civil Aviation Agency of Kyrgyzstan and asked if we should cancel the flight or not.  They said that there are no restrictions, the prohibition applies only to land routes and you can organize the flight,” Esal Travel Group source said.  

An official with the Tajik Foreign Minister said they had not received any notifications about this flight from their Kyrgyz colleagues.  

Recall, Kyrgyzstan has imposed temporary restrictions limiting border crossing for Tajikistan citizens.  The Cabinet of Ministers of Kyrgyzstan on May 21 issued a regulation imposing temporary entry, travel and transit restrictions for nationals of Tajikistan. 

The regulation limits the passage of goods and vehicles to and from Tajikistan via border crossing points (BCPs) Kulundu, Kairagach, Qizil-Bek, Bordobo and Karamyk located along the Kyrgyz-Tajik border.  

An exception is made for: employees of diplomatic missions of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan and members of their families; employees of diplomatic missions of foreign states and international organizations as well as members of their families; and officials of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan with advance agreement with competent authorities of Kyrgyzstan.

The regulation also notes that citizens of Kyrgyzstan staying in Tajikistan may return to Kyrgyzstan and citizens of Tajikistan staying in Kyrgyzstan may return to Tajikistan via BCPs along the Kyrgyz-Tajik border.  

It is to be noted that Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers of Kyrgyzstan Ulugbek Maripov stated during his meeting with residents of border areas of Chong-Alay district in Osh region that traffic across Kyrgyzstan’s common border with Tajikistan will be fully stopped until problematic issues are resolved.