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An Unending Dispute

Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan reached an agreement to demilitarise a conflict-afflicted section of their shared borders on September 25, 2022. However, the dispute is far from over.

The entire Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) is shaking, with war between Russia and Ukraine, Armenia and Azerbaijan, and now between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. The former Soviet Republics are all observing and ongoing shattering of the existing order with uncertainty and fear.

What is the next?
The Russia-led Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) offered diplomatic mediation in the past; however, there was no positive response from the two parties. Furthermore, the CSTO has not previously developed a mechanism to solve similar problems. It is known that after the disollution of the Soviet Union and the end of border conflicts in some countries, peacekeepers were sent to the border areas under the CIS for peacekeeping purposes. However, such a system fails to solve the root of the problem.

As the CSTO has failed to resolve the border crisis, each country tries to defend its borders or territories with external support or its own means. While Tajikistan enjoys significant support from Russia and, more recently, from Iran; it seems that Kyrgyzstan is seeking a similar way to balance the power of its neighbour.

Many experts see the solution to the conflict between the two Central Asian nations in border demarcation. Yet, this process can be a complicated one, keeping in mind the natural resources and the location of houses in a chessboard form of border communities. Therefore, to manage the current situation, interventions by Governments of both the countries are needed to strengthen cooperation, increase capacity building in resource management, promote effective inter-ministerial coordination and improve independent monitoring systems, as well as a more substantial involvement of local users and stakeholders.

Lastly, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan need an intergovernmental agreement to define property rights, and use water and pasture resources.

Source: Talk Diplomacy (Instagram)

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