Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan continue negotiations after border clash

Caravanserai

VORUKH, Tajikistan -- Tajik and Kyrgyz officials are trying to tamp down tensions after a border clash left two Tajiks dead and more than 30 Tajiks and Kyrgyz injured, reported media from both countries.

The officials negotiated in Vorukh, Tajikistan, Friday (March 15). Tajik Deputy Azim Ibrohim led his country's delegation, with Kyrgyz Deputy Prime Minister Jenish Razakov heading the opposite team.

Kyrgyz authorities have evacuated residents of Ak-Sal and Kok-Tash villages, near a disputed section of the border, to Batken city, said the government Friday.

Both countries' security forces are working to stabilise the border areas.

The violence broke out Wednesday (March 13) when Tajiks protested a Kyrgyz road-building project on the border. Rock throwing and gunshots resulted. The injured included a Kyrgyz police officer who was shot in the chest, according to AFP.

Concern reached the highest levels Thursday (March 14), when Tajik President Emomali Rahmon and his Kyrgyz counterpart, Sooronbay Jeenbekov, conferred by phone about holding border talks and launching a joint investigation, according to Jeenbekov's press office.

Disputes along Central Asian borders are an artefact of Soviet times, when the Kremlin deliberately drew the borders to maximise ethnic and territorial conflict.

Since then, the five Central Asian nations have sought to build harmony. Last July, the five Central Asian states' foreign ministers conferred in Bishkek on border disputes, trade, water and tourism.

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