Asel Doolotkeldieva

Asel Doolotkeldieva



I am not a military or 'border conflict' expert. I am a political analyst with years of fieldwork research in Kyrgyzstan. Since there is a need to explain what's going b/n Kyrgyzstan & Tajikistan, I thought to collect here some analysis by my colleagues & myself. A long thread🧵

1. So what happened? Starting from Sep 14, TJ & KG forces exchanged sustained gunfire along various points of the un-demarcated border. After short ceasefire, however, on Sep 16, fierce fighting resumed and ENLARGED from the initial "border areas" to the deep of KG territory.

2. Points of exchange of gunfire inside the Kyrgyz territory. Curtesy @eurasianet

3. Although both sides officially produce contradictory accounts, what is clear is that TJ attacked deep inside KG, going out of the 'usual' border clashes. Ceasefire negotiations broke down several times, parties accusing each other of sabotage.

4. This invasion caused more than 130 thousands of internally displaced people, 26 dead, 129 wounded among the Kyrgyzstani civilians. The number of dead services is not confirmed. We still miss information about casualties and losses on the Tajik side.

5. This escalation is not the first, obviously. As many such conflicts in post-Soviet space and globally, this one is complicated and has a long history of tensions, back & forth negotiations, and human suffering. Tensions along the un-demarcated border date for several decades.

6. Please refer to the academic work of brilliant scholars who have been studying for many years: @magdagul and her book ( @NickMegoran and his book (to name the few.

8. What preceded this escalation was populist moves by the Kyrgyz government and militarization of borders. The Kyrgyz gov purchased modern military equipment including Turkish bayraktar and Russian tanks. It also threw a big military show just in front of Rahmon's nose.

9. Territorial sovereignty and border security was one of the main points in Japarov's & Tashiev's electoral campaigns in 2020. Their populist moves precisely endangered human security of people living in border areas. According to Murzakulova, the leading researchers on borders,

10. Local people understand their security as the ability to go to the market, hospital and schools, i.e. conduct their daily business, free from fear. That does not include military securitization of borders

11. Tajik gov didn't wait long to arm itself. The last effort in this direction is the opening of a facility to produce Iranian-designed Ababil-2 tactical drones

12. This escalation of the conflict takes place amidst a large summit of the Shangai Cooperation Organization, hosted in Uzbekistan (Neither the Tajik nor the Kyrgyz nor the leading chair of SCO, Uzbek, leaders raised the issue. Перевести твит

13. Such ignoring at the official largest regional gathering is telling. The whole of CIS is shaking. Conflicts Ru/Ukr, Armenia/Azerbaijan, now KG/TJ. All states are observing the ongoing shattering of the existing order with uncertainty and fear. What is next?

14. Would Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan like such a rearrangement of territory in the region? Most likely not. Ru's SCTO offered mediation, but so far SCTO was only good in crashing civic dissent (rather than helping maintaining fragile peace among members.

15. While different popular perceptions and expert opinions proliferate about the role of Russia, in Russia itself, this escalation was presented as the 'doings of the West' that seeks to further weaken Russia's southern borderlands (

16. What is really difficult to gauge is the reasons behind escalation from the Tajik side. Rahmon keeps his country under iron fist. A power transfer from father to son is ongoing against the background of soaring inflation and deep economic stagnation.

17. People chose exit strategies rather than opposing to the regime. Last opposition and civil activists are chased down in Russia. Heavy and regular clamping on GBAO region's minority. For more info in this podcast (

Does the creation of an external enemy such as Kyrgyzstan is done to facilitate internal power transit? Or is it forcing the border disputes because previous diplomatic way doesn't work? Is it about land grab while int.comunity is busy with Ukr? Many questions...

18. Kyrgyz gov has behaved populist re border, it is also heavily criticized for corruption and repression of political pluralism. But KG has robust civil society, independent media and NGOs, elections and changeable power (And KG needs least the war...

19. I've used mainly sources in English to ease comprehension for foreign audiences. What I compiled under time pressure is a short summary of an otherwise long and complex history. Please add here other analytical pieces to enrich the reading list.

20. UPD. Important correction: people with military knowledge criticized my tweet on the militarization on the Kyrgyz side. Tigers are not tanks, as judged by me earlier. Hence I have over-evaluated the Kyrgyz military efforts! Which means that the Kyrgyz capacity is even lower

21. Thanks @opmaida for making this important correction! As I said earlier I am not a military expert.

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