34 Kyrgyzstanis killed, hundreds seriously injured, over 50K evacuated.

Why is this a planned attack by Tajikistan's dictator Emomali Rahmon against civilians in Kyrgyz villages?

This is a big thread.

#StopRahmon #RahmonStopAttackingKyrgyzstan
1. In a nutshell: a border confrontation between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan evolved intensive fight between border troops, later followed by Tajikistan's troops attacking civilians in Kyrgyzstan's villages in a completely different part of the border.

The emerging picture is that of Tajikistan deliberately using the heavy military against civilians within Kyrgyzstan's territory in undisputed parts of the border. Tens are reported killed, tens of thousands flew their homes.

The situation is not only of military aggression but also of a risk of humanitarian crisis. Governments talked several times at various levels, but Tajikistan's military actions appear to be out of sync with political statements.

2. Water facility at the border: The events unfolded on 28-29 April after what became a rather routine border incident over a water supply facility in Kyrgyzstan's Batken district, located close to Tajikistan's villages.

However, this time, the events revealed apparently well-planned, coordinated actions of Tajikistan's military in different parts of the border.

3. Gunfire exchanges: The water supply facility, guarded by Kyrgyzstan, became under intense attack from Tajikistan's forces. The exchange of fire ensued between troops in bordering areas of Kyrgyzstan's Batken district and Tajikistan's Isfara district.

A fact-finding mission can establish what happened at the outset - note the use of mortars and helicopters by Tajikistan. That is obviously a less urgent task now.

4. Villages attacked: If an exchange of fire between troops is already an unacceptable way of solving disagreements, attacks against civilians in the neighboring country, driving residents out, and occupying the villages are gross violations of norms & rules of all sorts.

That is what happened to several villages in the Leilek district of Kyrgyzstan. Gunfire from Tajikistan drove tens of thousands of people out of their homes in the area of Kulundu, Arka, etc., for those who know the context.

Isfana, Suluktu, Margun, and other parts of Leilek are overburdened with tens of thousands of displaced people, while the local government reports running out of food, medicine, and other immediate necessities as of Saturday afternoon.

On Friday, the government declared all military out of those villages (that is how the Kyrgyz government finally acknowledged the fact of occupation). Still, nothing changed on the ground in those villages until another round of talks on Saturday.

More details are both available elsewhere and will be emerging in the coming days. What I meant to write here:

1. Framing - what happened this week? News reports must name things for what they are: not a border incident, not a conflict over water facility but Tajikistan’s military attack against civilians in Kyrgyzstan, killing people and driving thousands out of their homes.

Nothing less than that happened. Risks of something more are there: more of such attacks to force a “fait accompli” on disputed matters, and a humanitarian crisis.

2. Leaders' goodwill appeared weak and out of sync with Tajikistan’s troops: Political agreements have been repeatedly violated by Tajikistan in the past days as a) Kyrgyz villages remained under Tajik control despite reassurances of leaving the area by them, and

b) Tajikistan has continued blocking the road connecting Leilek and Batken despite agreeing to open it the day before. As I am typing this, the road was reportedly reopened following security chiefs' talks. Hopefully, this time the agreement stands, but few can be sure.

3. Close international attention is required - by all parties interested in proverbial "stability" in Central Asia - as Bishkek and Dushanbe will look for ways to co-exist next to each other.

It is hard to imagine how Kyrgyz and Tajik neighbors in Arka will look at each other if and once all return home. Life will never be the same again for them.

This will be unfortunate since the majority of residents have always had good relations, but there is no way for things to remain the same after what happened this week.

The immediate priority is the physical safety of border residents. Given repeated violation of agreements already, close international attention will be critical to reassure villagers that they will not be fleeing towards mountains one day or one night.

A glimpse of hope of many is linked to the proactive role the Uzbek president played in making his counterparts in Bishkek and Dushanbe talk to each other. Some hope for, and others fear, the repeated statements of "readiness" of the Russian president to mediate.

4. Urgent aid to support displaced people in Leilek and Batken is needed. Many will fear returning, given Tajikistan's border (and presumably armed men) being a few meters away. Many will have their homes burnt, and thus, non-existent.

There is massive fundraising underway to help the "hosting" households, in the area, in Bishkek, and from Russia, and elsewhere (remember these are parts of Kyrgyzstan most affected by labor migration). But international aid may become critically needed in the coming days.

5. Responsibility: the leadership of Tajikistan should remain under maximum pressure for the use of the military against civilians in Kyrgyzstan. The Kyrgyz government remains very reserved on the matter.

This might be wise to prevent larger-scale confrontation, further loss of lives, and also given uneven military resources on two sides.

However, the interested audience should make no mistake in taking Tajikistan responsible for using the military against civilians of a different country.

6. Caveat: being an academic and a citizen is a burden in such instances. There is always a chance of misinterpreting or not knowing everything. Colleagues elsewhere may know what we do not and must have reported that.

We can say, any regular border disagreement will involve at least two truths. But not when troops attack civilians - under all conditions but especially when unprovoked and especially on the other side of the border.

Written by @ShairbekJuraev, a prominent political analyst. Received MS in International Relations from the London School of Economics. He has been contributing to the development of Central Asia for many years through work for the EBRD, IWPR, UKAID, and the IPD.


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More from @Mirsuljan

1 May
Another thread about what happened and who is at the head of the armed attack on civilians in Kyrgyz villages.

Also about why the international community should condemn the dictator of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon and bring him to justice!

Help us #StopRahmon

Three days ago, armed troops of Tajikistan invaded the southern region of Kyrgyzstan. The unexpected attack was met by unsuccessful backlash from Kyrgyz armed forces, which resulted in hundreds of Kyrgyz civilian deaths and thousands of displaced Kyrgyz citizens.

Currently, despite diplomatic negotiations and reached peace agreements, heavily armed forces of Tajik dictator Emomali Rahmon remain on occupied Kyrgyz territories, making it impossible for scared Kyrgyz people to return homes safely.

Read 9 tweets
1 May
Names and ages of Kyrgyz victims killed by Tajikistan’s dictator Emomali Rahmon’s terrorist act! #StopRahmon! All are residents of Batken, Kyrgyzstan.

1)Madina Rakhmatjanova, 12 years old
2)Omurbek Bakhridin uulu, 18 y.o.
3)Sultanbek Abdyvahap uulu, 19 y.o.

Thread: 1/5
4)Bayaman Abdrakhmanov, 23 y.o.
5)Doolotbek Jigitaly uulu, 23 y.o.
6)Chingiz Tenirbaev, 26 y.o.
7)Mederbek Kamchiev, 26 y.o.
8)Midin Makhamadaku uulu, 30 y.o.
9)Ulanbek Musaev, 30 y.o.
10)Tynchtybek Ergeshaly uulu, 30 y.o.
11)Myrzabek Abdyrakhmanov, 30 y.o.

Thread: 2/5
12)Molanbek Tajibaev, 30 y.o.
13)Alijan Tagaibaev, 30 y.o.
14)Jamshit Ganiev, 30 y.o.
15)Shukhratbek Zikirov, 32 y.o.
16)Turdubai Satarov, 33 y.o.
17)Jarkynbek Amanov, 33 y.o.

Thread: 3/5
Read 5 tweets

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