Kyrgyz President Sadyr Japarov shakes hands with Tajik President Emomali Rakhmon during a meeting in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, on Friday. Reuters
The two former Soviet republics clashed over a border dispute this week, accusing each other of using tanks, mortars, rocket artillery and assault drones to attack nearby settlements.
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Central Asian border issues largely stem from the Soviet era when Moscow tried to divide the region between groups whose settlements were often located amidst those of other ethnicities.
A still image from video shows the active military confrontation on Kyrgyz-Tajik border in Kyrgyzstan. Reuters
Kyrgyzstan, which on Friday reported 24 deaths and dozens of people wounded, said one border village was shelled by mortars for five minutes early on Saturday after an otherwise quiet night.
Tajikistan has not given any official casualty numbers, but security sources said at least seven people were killed on Friday. Tajik border guards said in a statement on Friday several Tajik villages had been struck by Kyrgyz helicopters and drones.
Tajik security sources said heads of state security from both sides continued talks on Saturday to settle the conflict.
The press service of the northern region of Sughd bordering Kyrgyzstan said 19 people were killed including six soldiers, while 87 people were injured. The statement brings to 55 the total number of dead, with another 270 people wounded.
Ahead of the talks, here are the key points that have led to the dispute and the pitfalls as the two nations, who fought a 1962 border war and have clashed many times since, over the solution:
Both Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are allied with Russia and host Russian military bases, but fighting over border issues is frequent and last year almost resulted in an all-out war between the former Soviet republics.
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