Despite claims of intermittent firing by both sides, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan reported no significant combat incidents on Saturday, indicating that a ceasefire they agreed upon following severe fighting on Friday remained in place.
This week, there was fighting over a border dispute between the two former Soviet republics. Each side claimed the other had attacked outposts and nearby settlements with tanks, mortars, rocket artillery, and assault drones, killing at least 54 people.
The Soviet Union attempted to partition Central Asia into groupings, whose settlements were frequently mixed in with those of other nationalities. This led to many of the boundary disputes in the region today.
After reporting that 24 of its nationals had died in the battle and that 137,000 had been evacuated, Kyrgyzstan accused Tajik forces of bombarding its border outposts several times on Saturday.
Security sources reported that 30 people had died this week, including 15 who were inside a mosque that Tajikistan claims was struck by a Kyrgyz drone. Tajikistan has not released any official casualty figures.
The Sughd province in northern Tajikistan, where the skirmishes started, said that the border region was becoming less tense.
It claimed in a statement that “as a result of meetings between Tajik and Kyrgyz delegations the situation on the border is stabilising, and people are returning to normal life.”
Both nations are members of many military and economic blocs led by Russia and host bases for Russian troops.
This week, when the border fighting broke out, Tajik President Emomali Rakhmon and his Kyrgyz colleague Sadyr Japarov were attending a summit of a regional organisation organised by Russia and China.
In a speech to the country on Saturday, Japarov declared that Kyrgyzstan would not cede any territory in the disputed region.
“We will not stop even for a minute our efforts to settle the Kyrgyz-Tajik dispute as quickly as possible,” he said.
(with inputs from agencies)