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Is The Situation Along Kyrgyz-Tajik Border Getting Worse?


Kyrgyzstan Tends Injured After Border Clash
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WATCH: Patients were recovering in hospital after an armed clash on the Kyrgyz-Tajik border in which at least one Kyrgyz border guard was killed and 19 people injured, including a 12-year-old child. A ruined building bore the scars of the firing, and shrapnel included parts of rocket-propelled grenades.

On September 16, clashes broke out along a section of the Kyrgyz-Tajik border. Four people were killed, and more than two dozen wounded. As a report from Eurasianet noted, it was the 12th time this year there have been border clashes, but in this case it was not villages throwing stones at one another -- the fighting started with a firefight between the two countries' border guards.

The Kyrgyz-Tajik border has been a flashpoint for many years now and despite a series of meetings of delegations of the two countries, and a recent meeting of the Kyrgyz and Tajik presidents in one of the areas where fighting has broken out several times over the years, the situation is at the least, no better, and some would argue it is worse now than ever before.

RFE/RL's media-relations manager, Muhammad Tahir, moderated a discussion on this deadly turn in the situation along the Kyrgyz-Tajik frontier, what, if anything, efforts by the two governments to calm tensions along the border have achieved, and what could be done to improve ties between the border communities.

From Osh, we were joined by Peter Leonard, co-author of that recent Eurasianet article and a veteran traveler and reporter from Central Asia for more than a decade. The other guest we hoped to get had prior, and more important commitments.* So, that left Peter and myself, but we've both been in the Kyrgyz-Tajik border region, so we have seen the signs of trouble growing there.

Cross-Border Tensions In Central Asia
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* We were hoping Madeleine Reeves would join us. Madeleine lived along the Kyrgyz-Tajik border conducting research and she is the author of the book Border Work, which focuses on relations along the borders in the Ferghana Valley. But she has recently welcomed a new addition to her family. We congratulate her on the birth of her child.

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About Majlis

Each week, hosts Bruce Pannier and Muhammad Tahir welcome a panel of expert guests to discuss significant political developments and pressing social issues affecting the nations of Central Asia.

Click here to check out the latest Majlis podcast, or visit ITunes.

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