Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan agree to pull back troops after clash

May 1, 2021 GMT

MOSCOW (AP) — Neighboring Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan have agreed to withdraw troops from their borders after an outburst of intense fighting that killed about 40 people and wounded 175.

The heads of national security for the two former Soviet republics in Central Asia agreed to the pullback during a meeting on Saturday.

The fighting broke out Wednesday when Tajik officials attempted to mount surveillance cameras to monitor a water supply facility near the village of Kok-Tash in Kyrgyzstan.

Both nations have claimed the area around the water supply facility, a dispute dating back decades to when they were both part of the Soviet Union.

Residents of Kyrgyzstan opposed the surveillance attempt; Kyrgyz and Tajiks began hurling stones at each other, and troops quickly entered the fray.

Kyrgyz officials say 33 people were killed on their side and about 7,000 area residents were evacuated. Tajik officials have not announced casualties on their side, but media reports say about eight people were killed.