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Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan security chiefs hold talks to end border fighting

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Central Asian border issues largely stem from the Soviet era when Moscow tried to divide the region between groups whose settlements were often located amidst those of other ethnicities

Kyrgyzstan‘s border service have announced the new round of talks as the two countries traded blame for shelling that resumed after a shortly held ceasefire. At least 24 people have been killed and 121 people have been injured in the fresh clashes (Reuters) The security chiefs of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan have sat down for talks to cease fighting on the border between the two countries that has killed at least 24 people so far.

At least 121 people have also been injured in the clashes, including children, according to the Kyrgyz health ministry.

The Kyrgyz border service announced the new round of talks as the two ex-Soviet nations traded blame for shelling that resumed on Saturday morning, after Friday afternoon's agreed upon ceasefire, and what appeared to be a brief respite overnight.

Kyrgyz border authorities accused Tajik armed forces of attacking several border areas and settlements on Saturday morning, including in the southern regions of Batken and Osh.

Tajik border guards said the situation was “relatively stable” at 10:00 am (0500 GMT) in a statement to official news agency Khovar.

READ MORE: Clashes with Tajikistan kill two dozen on Kyrgyzstan side

But later accused the Kyrgyz army of violating the ceasefire and “deploying military reinforcements” at the border.

Tajik border areas are being fired at from the settlements of Samarkandek and Koktosh in the Batken region (of Kyrgyzstan),” Tajik border officials said.

Tens of thousands of people have been evacuated from Kyrgyzstan's border regions. Tajikistan's interior ministry said civilians were killed in the clashes but did not provide figures.

Turkish foreign ministry on KyrgyzstanTajikistan border conflict:

– We're following recent developments with concern

Hoping tension between friendly and brotherly countries will be ended quickly without further escalation, disputes will be settled through dialogue pic.twitter.com/k7eUBYSfeV

TRT World Now (@TRTWorldNow) September 16, 2022 Frequent border clashes

The fighting started on Wednesday on the eve of a regional security body meeting after Kyrgyz border guards accused the Tajiks of taking positions at a part of the border that has not been demarcated.

The Tajik side said in a statement that Kyrgyz border guards opened unprovoked gun and mortar fire on their outpost. It said one border guard was killed in the incident and another two were injured, Russia's RIA Novosti news agency reported.

Kyrgyzstan had accused Tajikistan's forces of escalating the fighting by firing rockets on the border town of Batken, with a population of around 30,000 people in the south east of the country.

READ MORE:  New border conflict between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan turns deadly

Tajikistan's President Emomali Rahmon met his Kyrgyz counterpart SadyrJaparov at the summit of the Shanghai Security Organisation in Uzbekistan on Friday where the two leaders agreed to instruct the relevant structures to ceasefire and withdraw forces from the line of contact.

Central Asian border issues largely stem from the Soviet era when Moscow tried to divide the region between groups whose settlements were often located amidst those of other ethnicities.

Both Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are allied with Russia and host Russian military bases, but fighting over border issues is frequent and last year almost resulted in an all-out war between the former Soviet republics.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies