Kyrgyzstan mourns victims of border conflict with Tajikistan


By Nurzhan Kasmalieva

BISHKEK: President of Kyrgyzstan Sadyr Zhaparov signed a decree, according to which May 1-2, 2021 are declared days of national mourning in the republic.

According to the decree, as a result of the armed conflict on April 29-30, 2021, on the Kyrgyz-Tajik border in Batken Oblast of Kyrgyzstan, there are numerous casualties and injuries, both among civilians and military personnel, the president’s press service said.

At least 33 Kyrgyz people, including a 13-year-old girl, have been killed and 163 were injured in heavy clashes at the border with Tajikistan that started on April 28, when a verbal conflict between the local residents of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan gradually escalated into an armed clash between the military personnel of both countries.


The reason for the conflict was the installation of a video surveillance camera by the Tajik side on power transmission poles near the Golovnaya water intake, which is located in Batken region of Kyrgyzstan.

Local residents of Kyrgyz villages demanded to dismantle the installed cameras. The gathered people on both sides started throwing stones at each other. Later the Tajik side began to fire from several hunting weapons. By evening, the situation had stabilized – negotiations were held, and the Tajik side agreed to dismantle the cameras, but did not fulfill the promise.

The situation on the border escalated on April 29 morning. The military men of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan fought all the day. An emergency regime was introduced in three village of Batken Oblast.

The Tajik side used mortars, burned down the border outpost of Kyrgyz Border Service, dwellings of local residents, petrol stations, shops, fired on cars driving on roads from the side of mountains.

Thus, the armed conflict caused significant property loss for civilians and enterprises.


The ministries of foreign affairs of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, after several negotiations, reached an agreement on a complete ceasefire from 8:00 p.m. Bishkek time on April 29 and on the withdrawal of military forces to the former deployment locations.

However, despite the agreements, there was shooting in the border villages of Leilek region of Batken Oblast and the houses of Kyrgyz citizens were burned by the Tajik side.

On April 30, negotiations continued, and by evening it was announced that the sides were withdrawing their troops.

On May 1, the Border Service reported that the situation at the border was stable. No incidents and skirmishes were recorded during the night. However, closer to noon, Tajik servicemen opened fire on residential houses of Kyrgyzstanis.

In the last two days, Presidents of the two countries Sadyr Zhaparov and Emomali Rahmon held phone talks twice. They discussed measures to rapidly de-escalate the situation on the Kyrgyz-Tajik border, confirmed that all military equipment will be withdrawn from the border areas on both sides and agreed to resolve the situation exclusively through peaceful means.


So far, about 30,000 people have been evacuated from the conflict zone, half of them are children, according to data of the Health Ministry of Kyrgyzstan.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union and gaining independence, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan have been unable to agree on many disputed areas. The Kyrgyz-Tajik section of the state border periodically becomes a zone of conflicts between the local population of the two countries. However, it is the first time that the local conflicts degenerated to heavy clashes between troops of the neighboring countries.

The main cause of conflicts in this region is the disputed areas where the border between states is still not demarcated. To date, only approximately 504 out of 970 kilometers have been demarcated between Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.

Meanwhile, the Kyrgyz side declared that the Golovnoi water distribution facility is located on the territory of Kyrgyzstan and belongs to Kyrgyzstan. Representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kyrgyz Republic Ermek Kyshtobaev told at a press conference.


At last, heads of the State Committees of National Security of Kyrgyzstan Kamchybek Tashiev and Tajikistan Saimumin Yatimov held talks and agreed to completely stop firing and to withdraw all military formations to their permanent deployment locations.

“From now on, through the efforts of our respected neighbors and our efforts, peace and tranquility will come in our countries, especially in the border areas,” the Kyrgyz official told reporters after the talks.

In addition, the Tajik side returned 10 hostages to Kyrgyzstan, according to the press service of Batken regional administration.

Kyrgyz and Tajik people are neighbors and brotherly peoples. From time immemorial, Kyrgyz and Tajiks have lived in peace and friendship. There is hope that the peoples the two countries will continue to co-exist as good neighbours.

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