Kyrgyz-Tajik Ceasefire Largely Holds After Quiet Night

BISHKEK (Reuters) – Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan reported no major overnight incidents on Saturday, indicating that a ceasefire agreed after intense Friday fighting remained in effect, although Kyrgyz border guards said a village was briefly shelled.

The two former Soviet republics clashed over a border dispute this week, accusing each other of using tanks, mortars, rocket artillery and assault drones to attack nearby settlements.

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, which on Friday reported 24 deaths and dozens of people wounded, said one border village was shelled by mortars for five minutes early on Saturday after an otherwise quiet night.

Tajikistan has not given any official casualty numbers, but security sources said at least seven people were killed on Friday. Tajik border guards said in a statement on Friday several Tajik villages had been struck by Kyrgyz helicopters and drones.

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Tajik security sources said heads of state security from both sides continued talks on Saturday to settle the conflict.

(Reporting by Olga Dzyubenko; Additional reporting by Nazarali Pirnazarov in Dushanbe; Writing by Olzhas Auyezov)

Copyright 2022 Thomson Reuters.

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