Death toll from clashes along Tajik -Kyrgyz border rises to 80

Both countries blame each other for violations following Friday’s ceasefire

September 18, 2022 09:43 pm | Updated September 19, 2022 12:19 pm IST - BISHKEK:

A man looks at a house damaged during fighting in Batken, southwestern Kyrgyzstan on Saturday.

A man looks at a house damaged during fighting in Batken, southwestern Kyrgyzstan on Saturday. | Photo Credit: AP

At least 81 people were killed in clashes between Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan this week, in the worst violence the countries have seen in years, while the international community called for calm.

The situation on the contested border between the two Central Asian neighbours was however calm on Sunday afternoon, according to Kyrgyz authorities.

Clashes regularly erupt between the two former Soviet republics, as around half their 970-km border is still to be demarcated.

Tajikistan said on Sunday that 35 of its citizens were killed, the first official death toll since armed clashes broke out on Wednesday.

On its Facebook page, the Tajik Foreign Ministry reported 25 injured, including women, and children.

The Ministry accused Kyrgyz soldiers of killing 12 people in a drone strike on a mosque, and six others in an attack against a school.

Meanwhile, Kyrgyzstan said on Sunday at least 46 people had died in the southern border region of Batken, and 140 had been injured.

Tens of thousands of people were evacuated from Kyrgyz border regions over the past days, according to NGOs.

This toll by far surpasses figures from April 2021, when clashes left 50 dead and raised fears of a large-scale conflict.

The two sides agreed a ceasefire on Friday and Tajikistan’s President Emomali Rahmon met his Kyrgyz counterpart Sadyr Japarov at a summit in Uzbekistan.

But the two countries traded blame for ceasefire violations a few hours later.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday called for “no further escalation” between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan in phone calls with the leaders.

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