Tajikistan says one killed in violence at Kyrgyzstan border

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Border officials in ex-Soviet Tajikistan say a man was shot dead in violence along the contested border with Kyrgyzstan ahead of talks between the two Central Asian countries’ presidents.

A dispute broke out among villagers after Tajik citizens raised a flag in the Tajikistan-controlled exclave of Vorukh, the country’s border agency said late Monday.


It said Kyrgyz residents responded by planting their own country’s flag in the territory, sparking clashes in which a 52-year-old Tajik man was shot dead and seven others were injured.

“Kyrgyz citizens, along with throwing stones, used firearms,” added the statement, released by Tajikistan’s state information agency.

Kyrgyzstan’s border service did not mention the death but said five people had been injured and that a key road in the region had been closed after a “verbal disagreement” over the flag-raising.

The incident comes ahead of planned talks between Kyrgyz leader Sooronbai Jeenbekov and his Tajik counterpart Emomali Rakhmon in the Tajik city of Isfara near the Kyrgyz border.

Media in the two countries have reported the talks will take place before the end of the week.
The Vorukh exclave -- a Tajik settlement entirely surrounded by Kyrgyz territory -- has become a flashpoint in recent years.

Flare-ups are common at the border, where large areas are not demarcated and competition for scarce land and water pits ethnic groups against each other.

Tajikistan has accused Kyrgyzstan of attempting to build a road in the disputed region “in violation of the bilateral intergovernmental protocol.”

Both Muslim-majority Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan were part of the Soviet Union, and border disputes worsened when the USSR fell apart in 1991.

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