Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan Agree on Another Border Section

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.