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Kyrgyzstan Accuses Tajikistan After Border Clash

Kyrgyzstan accused neighboring Tajikistan of threatening regional stability Monday after an armed clash that injured eight border guards.

"Kyrgyzstan is extremely dissatisfied with the fact that the Tajik side, in violation of all principles of international law, fired artillery on Kyrgyz soldiers, and moreover, opened fire on Kyrgyz territory," the Kyrgyz Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

"This raises the concern that these actions by Tajikistan are a direct threat to the stability and security of the region as a whole."

A Kyrgyz official said that its border with Tajikistan would remain closed until diplomatic relations are normalized, although citizens from third countries can still cross unhindered.

Kyrgyzstan closed the border following the clash on Saturday in which five Kyrgyz and three Tajik border guards were injured.

The Kyrgyz newspaper Vecherny Bishkek published photographs of an exploded mortar round allegedly fired by Tajik troops during the skirmish.

Tajikistan initially claimed that Kyrgyz troops caused the escalation, but an advisor to its president hinted that a third party could be responsible.

Kyrgyz officials said the attack occurred at a road construction project near a disputed region with Tajikistan.

The incident took place less than a week after the two countries signed an agreement to jointly patrol regions along the disputed border.

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