Apr 30, 2021
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Isfara – a strange war

The conflict smacks of pain in the body of Eurasian integration, it requires a solution

It all started on April 28, allegedly because of the Tajik KamAZ, which loaded gravel from the Golovnoy water distribution station. Moreover, Bishkek assures that the Tajiks were preparing: trenches were dug, a video surveillance camera was installed. Then the Tajik flag was flown on the Kyrgyz territory. Immediately, groups of dissatisfied people from the villages of Kok-Tash and Khoja Allo appeared, the traditional for these places began throwing cobblestones, then shooting.

The point of conflict is the Golovnoy water intake on the border of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan

The point of conflict is the Golovnoy water intake on the border of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan

The beginning of the conflict

The beginning of the conflict

The State Committee for National Security of Tajikistan called the head of the Batken region, Akylbek Orazov, the instigator of the quarrel, and the Kyrgyz side laid the blame on the head of the Isfara region, Bakhovidin Bakhodirzoda.

Note that on this site, any construction work by one of the parties instantly caused increased nervousness of neighbors.

Naturally, both Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan provoked an aggravation of the conflict with their unilateral statements. In early April, Bishkek announced plans to build a reservoir on the Kozu-Baghlan River (in Kyrgyzstan) or Khodjabokirgon (in Tajikistan), ostensibly “for everyone’s benefit.” Dushanbe immediately rejected universality, since the reservoir allegedly would interfere with the flow of water to several regions in northern Tajikistan.

An attempt by the head of the State Committee for National Security of Kyrgyzstan Kamchybek Tashiev to resolve the dispute with a rapid impulse of exchange of territories turned out to be a failure; On April 7, President Rahmon’s belligerent rhetoric sounded during a surprise visit to the Vorukh enclave. The last conflict here took place on April 17-18, and now – a one-day war.

Residents of Kok-Tash carry a wounded

Residents of Kok-Tash carry a wounded man

On the evening of April 28, Bishkek assured that the situation was “stable with elements of tension,” and already at night there was a fierce firefight.

The versions of the parties about the “hot phase” on April 29 are different. In Bishkek, they claim that they simultaneously began shelling the Kyrgyz outposts Kapchygai, Min-Bulak, Dostuk, as well as the border posts Kozhogar and Bulak-Bashi. Tajiks say the opposite, pointing to the seizure of the Khoja Allo Tajik outpost by the Kyrgyz special forces of the Boru State Committee for National Security. Moreover, tanks and infantry fighting vehicles were brought up to Isfara overnight, the shootout led to the fire of buildings at the Tort-Kul and Dostuk outposts of the Batken border detachment. There were statements about the flights of Tajik helicopters.

Burning border post

Burning border post

Fire was fired at residential buildings in the villages of Arka, Dostuk, Kulundu, Maksat, Zhashtyk. A shootout began between border guards in the Leilek district of the Batken region. Mayor of Isfara Bakhovidin Bakhodirzoda was wounded.

Tashkent, Nur-Sultan and Moscow spoke about the need for a ceasefire, offering mediation and assistance. On the evening of April 29 in Kazan, where a meeting of the Eurasian Intergovernmental Council was held, the Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan Ulukbek Maripov and the Prime Minister of Tajikistan Kokhir Rasulzoda announced that as a result of negotiations between the ministers, agreements were reached on a complete ceasefire from 20:00 and the withdrawal of military forces to places of former deployment. This was confirmed by the heads of the foreign ministries of the republics Ruslan Kazakbaev and Sirojiddin Mukhriddin, and then the head of the State Committee for National Security of Tajikistan, Saimumin Yatimov, and the plenipotentiary representative of the Kyrgyz government in the Batken region, Omurbek Suvanaliev, who met in the Isfara teahouse late in the evening.

Nevertheless, on the morning of April 30, Bishkek announced a shootout near the Guliston outpost and that Tajik citizens had taken prisoner the head of the Internationale village, Myrzabek Zhumabaev. Dushanbe denies everything.

Isfara - a strange war

A close examination of fast-moving events reveals a number of oddities

– The conflict was clearly awaited. A few days before the start of the hot phase, Suvanaliev said: “We felt that there would be a provocation at the border. The kidnapping of two guys in Leilek, ministries’ notes, a fake note from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Tatarstan are a chain of events. There are forces interested in aggravation, but we will not allow massive clashes. “

– On April 28, on the day of the escalation of the conflict, the plenipotentiary representative of the government of Kyrgyzstan Omurbek Suvanaliev and the head of the Sughd region of Tajikistan, Rajobboy Akhmadzoda, met on the no-man’s-land between the Kyzyl-Bel and Guliston checkpoints. In order to prevent a conflict on the border, they agreed to conduct joint explanatory work to prevent provocations, although at that time the story with video cameras was already unfolding.

– It is noteworthy that the conflict began when the “curator Vorukh”, the head of the State Committee for National Security of Kyrgyzstan, Kamchybek Tashiev, was not in the country.

– I was surprised by the mobilization readiness of border guards, army and special forces.

– The conflict had a powerful informational support. If earlier mutual stoning, shootings even with the use of AGS and mortars were the property of regional news agencies, now the whole world is thundering about it. There is jubilation in the Ukrainian and Baltic media: a war has begun between the CSTO member countries!

– The topic of the CSTO was somehow strangely highlighted by Bishkek, when Japarov was informed that Kyrgyzstan was not asking for help from the CSTO in resolving the conflict with Tajikistan; at the same time, a meeting of the secretaries of the CSTO Security Councils was taking place in Dushanbe.

– There were many statements about the “actions of a third party”, which political scientist Max Sariev called “a global player who will become famous in the near future.”

The version of the “third force” is indirectly confirmed by the talk about the need for a “small victorious war” both for Japarov, who needs to strengthen his position after a referendum with controversial initiatives, and for Rahmon, who is beginning to transfer power to his son Rustam Emomali.

Of course, the long-standing systemic conflict is in the focus of attention of the US State Department. The main task of the Americans in connection with the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan is to “catch on to the region.” It was not for nothing that a few days ago Anthony Blinken spoke on the phone with the Foreign Ministers of Kazakhstan – Mukhtar Tleuberdi and Uzbekistan – Abdulaziz Kamilov, and on April 23, Blinken had a virtual meeting with the heads of foreign affairs of Central Asian countries in the C5 + 1 format.

It is quite obvious that there will not be a big war, even taking into account Rahmon’s militant-patriotic rhetoric in the spirit of “we will not give up an inch of Tajik land”. However, the conflict remains, it will continue. And it already smacks of pain in the body of Eurasian integration, it requires a solution. So far, the optimal solution is to deploy the CSTO peacekeeping forces in the conflict zone.

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