Tensions erupt on Kyrgyzstan-Tajikistan border over raising of national flags

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BISHKEK (TCA) — Officials say clashes on the border between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan have left at least one dead and several more wounded, RFE/RL’s Kyrgyz Service reports.

Gafurjon Juraev, head of the Tojikon quarter of the Vorukh council on the Tajik side of the border told RFE/RL that one local resident had been killed and seven more wounded during the clashes, which erupted on July 22. He said Kyrgyz villagers used hunting guns in the violence, while Tajiks threw stones.

Tensions spilled over when villagers in Tajikistan’s Vorukh exclave in the Ferghana Valley began installing Tajik flags on the Isfara-Vorukh road, which angered Kyrgyz villagers. The road has now been blocked by Kyrgyz residents as troops restore calm.

Kyrgyzstan’s State Border Service has confirmed that five people were injured in the incident.

Villagers on both sides of the post-Soviet neighbors’ borders have been hanging flags ahead of visits by the presidents of the two countries to the region.

According to an unconfirmed report, clashes erupted in the village of Khoja A’lo as well.

Many border areas in Central Asian former Soviet republics have been disputed since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

The situation is particularly complicated near the numerous exclaves in the volatile Ferghana Valley, where the borders of Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan meet.

Sergey Kwan

TCA