Representatives of the Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan met in Bishkek on February 5th to complete negotiations on another 3.71 km of the common state border, the press service of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Kyrgyz Republic has reported. The next meeting will be held in Tajikistan, with no date yet specified. Currently, approximately 90% of the border has been demarcated, with the remaining 10% still considered disputed. A long-standing source of conflict between the two nations, it is emblematic of the problem that even the length of the border - sometimes cited as being 975-kilomtres long, and at others times 972-kilomteres - is rarely agreed upon. As of January 2023, Tajikistan’s President Rahmon stated that 614-kilometres had been settled upon, backtracking on a previously stated figure of 664.[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image="14394" img_size="full" el_class="scond-image" parallax_scroll="no" woodmart_inline="no"][vc_column_text woodmart_inline="no" text_larger="no"]In a sign of thawing relations, however, on November 9th 2023, the Cabinet of Ministers of the Kyrgyz Republic announced that a further 17.98 kilometers of the border had been agreed. With its scant natural resources and dwindling water supplies, the border between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan has been the scene of numerous skirmishes for many years. In 2014, all borders between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan were closed indefinitely to Kyrgyz and Tajik citizens following clashes over a bypass road in disputed territory; mortars were fired and both armies suffered casualties. Trouble spilled over again throughout 2021 and 2022, reportedly starting over a water dispute in the Vorukh enclave, and leaving an unknown number in the hundreds killed, and up to 136,000 people evacuated.[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image="14397" img_size="full" el_class="scond-image" parallax_scroll="no" woodmart_inline="no"][vc_column_text woodmart_inline="no" text_larger="no"]An enduring example of the chaos left behind by the USSR, the arbitrary division of Central Asia into Soviet Socialist Republics wholly disregarded existing cultural and geographical realities. This is exemplified by Stalin's application of Lenin’s policy on the “self-identification of working people,” a classic divide-and-rule play which saw culturally Tajik cities such as Samarkand and Bukhara being incorporated into Uzbek territory. In exchange, Tajikistan was given the inhospitable Khojand landmass surrounding the Fan Mountains. As late as 1989, Tajikistan petitioned Mikhail Gorbachev for the ‘return’ of Samarkand and Bukhara.[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image="14400" img_size="full" el_class="scond-image" parallax_scroll="no" woodmart_inline="no"][vc_column_text woodmart_inline="no" text_larger="no"]This haphazard division also isolated around 100,000 residents in the Ferghana Valley from their central governments, creating eight large enclaves. Although three of these enclaves had populations fewer than 10,000 and two were used exclusively for pastures, the remaining three - Sokh (Uzbekistan within Kyrgyzstan), Vorukh (Tajikistan within Kyrgyzstan), and Shakhimardan (Uzbekistan within Kyrgyzstan) have repeatedly proven problematic, particularly when countries enforce strict border regulations in response to disputes and disagreements over demarcation arrangements. These enclaves have been hotbeds for conflict: between 1989 and 2009, the Ferghana Valley witnessed approximately 20 armed conflicts, and in 2014 alone, Kyrgyzstan reported 37 border incidents.
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Delegations from Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan have conducted more work on the definition and designation of the state border, agreeing on the divination of another 11.88 km at a meeting in Buston held between the 17th and 23rd of December. The two parties also agreed to continue determining the remaining sections oat the next meeting to be held in Kyrgyzstan. A long-standing source of conflict between the two nations, it is emblematic of the problem that even the length of the border - sometimes cited as being 975-kilomtres long, and at others times 972-kilomteres - is rarely agreed upon. In January 2023, Tajikistan’s President Rahmon stated that 614-kilometres have been agreed upon, backtracking on a previously stated figure of 664. With its scant natural resources and dwindling water supplies, the border between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan has been the scene of numerous skirmishes for many years. In 2014, all borders between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan were closed indefinitely to Kyrgyz and Tajik citizens following clashes over a bypass road in disputed territory; mortars were fired and both armies suffered casualties. In 2021 and 2022, troubles flared up again. Several hundred kilometers of the border have not yet been defined. This situation developed after the collapse of the USSR, leaving the parties unable to agree on dozens of disputed areas. The non-delimited territories become a conflict zone between the local population, and the border guards of the two countries became involved. The last major conflict occurred on September 16th 2022, as a result of which hundreds of people were killed and injured on both sides, and massive damage was caused to the infrastructure in Sughd and Batken. The Presidents of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, Emomali Rahmon and Sadyr Japarov, have repeatedly discussed delimitation of the border. The situation in the disputed areas is also closely monitored by the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). In recent years, the authorities of the two countries have been actively negotiating to resolve this issue. Meetings have been held alternately on the territory of the two republics. Currently, more than 90%, or about 885 km of the border has been mutually recognized by States.
Following a meeting between government delegations, Chairmen of the National Security Committee of Kyrgyzstan, Kamchybek Tashiyev, and Tajikistan, Saimumin Yatimov, released a statement announcing that over 90% of the border between the two countries has now been agreed upon. “As a result of the work of the intergovernmental commission, agreements were reached on the harmonization of most of the state border - more than 90%,” Tashiyev said. “Work on the remaining sections will be completed soon, starting with Kayragach, Kulundu, Maksat, Arka, Arka-1, Arka-2, Zhany-Zher and up to Zhiydelik. The Working Group has fully completed the coordination. At the moment, we have almost completed work on the disputed areas about which there were questions." According to Tashiyev, several more meetings will be necessary to complete the demarcation and delimitation of the state border. In turn, Yatimov noted that vital issues were discussed at the meeting of the delegations. “There is a common interest, common goals, and common causes between the two states,” he said. “This is the security and socio-economic development of our states. A lot of work has been done today - we have advanced more than 120 kilometers, and have agreed on these issues in principle. If we take the total length of the state border between Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, Kamchybek Kydyrshayevich and I can confirm that over 90% of the state border has been agreed. We are really close to solving these issues.”
DUSHANBE (TCA) — An overnight shoot-out at a post on the Tajik-Uzbek border has ended with one Tajik border guard and one police officer killed, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reported citing Tajik authorities. Continue reading
DUSHANBE (TCA) — United States Chargé d’Affaires John Ginkel and Colonel Shohiyon Abdusattor, Deputy Commander of Tajikistan’s Border Guard Forces, on November 1 participated in the opening ceremony for the Okultun border outpost, constructed for the Border Forces under the State Committee of National Security of Tajikistan. The cost of the construction project was funded and implemented by the U.S. Embassy in Tajikistan’s Office of Military Cooperation, with a cost of $900,000. The border outpost provides the Border Forces with increased capacity to consistently monitor and patrol the border with Afghanistan in the Shahritus region of Khatlon province. The facility will significantly increase the Border Forces’ ability to monitor and interdict illegal border crossings across a 15-20 kilometer range, and counter transnational threats such as narco-traffickers, smugglers, and violent extremists. The U.S. Embassy has supported the construction and renovation of 9 border outposts and 2 detachments along the Tajik-Afghan border with the goal of strengthening Tajikistan’s border security. The U.S. government has provided more than $100 million in assistance to strengthen Tajikistan’s border security since 2005. The United States remains committed to partnering with Tajikistan in support of its sovereignty, security, and its role in regional stability. These efforts support the positive role that Central Asian states will play in securing long-term peace and prosperity in Afghanistan through political support, economic connectivity, and counterterrorism, the U.S. Embassy in Dushanbe said. The United States has partnered with Tajikistan for 27 years and has provided more than $1.8 billion in development and assistance through programs that support Tajikistan’s private sector, agriculture, health, education, democratic institutions, and security.
BISHKEK (TCA) — EU-funded Border Management in Central Asia Programme (BOMCA) launched a new round of National Steering Group meetings. The series of five meetings in Central Asia countries began in Ashgabat (Turkmenistan) on September 13, continued in Dushanbe (Tajikistan) on 23 September, Tashkent (Uzbekistan) on 26 September, Nur-Sultan (Kazakhstan) on 30 September and will terminate in Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan) on October 3, the European Union delegations in Central Asia countries said. Continue reading