In the last month alone, the situation on the border between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan escalated for the second time. Kyrgyzstan stated that Tajik military personnel have reinforced the border with military personnel and reported that a sea vessel appeared on the disputed section of the state border at an undisclosed location, with equipment and soldiers on the Tajik side of the border.
Border conflicts between Kyrgyzstan and neighboring Uzbekistan and Tajikistan have been occurring for years with notable regularity. In early 2021, Bishkek held intensive negotiations with Tashkent, announcing a solution to the disputed sections.
However, a similar dialogue with Dushanbe stalled, and a severe clash between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan broke out in April. Let’s recall that the formal reason for the conflict between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan is the seasonal aggravation of relations between the citizens of these two states due to a lack of water and disputes over the hitherto undiminished state border.
The military conflict occurred at a section of the Tajik-Kyrgyz border in late April. It was preceded by a conflict between residents near the Golovnoy water distribution point, whose ownership is disputed by both sides. This is where the water intake that supplies water to the surrounding areas of both countries is located. Tajikistan believes that the Kyrgyz authorities are unfairly distributing water. In spring and summer, when agricultural work begins, water consumption increases tenfold, so conflicts between neighbors escalate.
As a result, according to official data, the April four-day conflict on the Kyrgyz-Tajik border claimed the lives of 44 people, 36 of whom were citizens of Kyrgyzstan. 180 Kyrgyz and 110 Tajiks were injured. On the territory of Kyrgyzstan, medical and educational buildings, infrastructure, 170 residential houses and other movable and immovable property of local citizens were destroyed. The Prosecutor General’s Office of the Kyrgyz Republic described the border conflict as military aggression from the Tajik side. Border problems between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan have existed since 1993, but no one expected a conflict of this intensity on the border between the two countries.
Armed conflicts on the border between the republics have arisen more than once over disputes over water and the state border, which is 976 km long. Only 519 km have been clarified and delimited, the rest of the line remains disputed.