Caspian Region

Evacuations from Villages after Recent Clashes on Kyrgyz-Tajik Border

Mark Elliott
A girl plays among belongings of people evacuated from their villages after recent clashes on a Kyrgyz-Tajik border, in a school which has been turned into a temporary shelter, in the town of Batken, southern Kyrgyzstan May 3, 2021. REUTERS/Vladimir Pirogov


As many as 10,000 people are reported to have been evacuated following clashes at various points along the border between southwestern Kyrgyzstan and northern Tajikistan. Violence started on April 28th and on the 29th, the situation escalated dangerously, notably in Maskat and Kok-Tash villages with armed forces on both sides exchanging fire and reports of many buildings being torched.


On Friday the countries’ prime ministers, Ulukberk Maripov (Kyrg) and Kokhir Rasulzoda (Taj) met on the sidelines of the Eurasia Economic Union meeting (in Kazan, Tatarstan, Russia) and agreed a ceasefire though some violence continued and a second truce was called late on Saturday.


On Sunday, the BBC reported that the situation appeared peaceful but that the death toll had risen to at least 46 and that around 100 buildings had been burnt out.


The spark that ignited the conflict was an attempt to monitor the flow of a cross-border water intake facility. Disputes over water are not uncommon in Central Asia, where the drying up of the Aral Sea is one of the world’s worst ecological disasters.


Adding to the problems of amicable resource sharing in this part of the world is the fact that many of the borders that hardened after the collapse of the USSR in 1991 have yet to be fully demarcated.