Kyrgyzstan asks Russia-led bloc to send peacekeepers to Tajik border

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BISHKEK, Oct 19 (Reuters) – Kyrgyzstan has asked a Russia-led security bloc to deploy peacekeeping troops at its disputed border with Tajikistan to ensure a ceasefire holds between the two ex-Soviet Central Asian countries, a senior Kyrgyz official said on Wednesday.

At least 100 people were killed last month in fighting involving the use of tanks, aircraft and rocket artillery on a disputed section of the border.

Although the ceasefire agreed on Sept.16 has held up so far, Tajikistan’s border guard service accused Kyrgyzstan on Wednesday of bringing more military hardware close to the border and building fortifications with “malevolent plans”.

Kyrgyz Defence Minister Baktybek Bekbolotov told reporters he has asked the Collective Security Treaty Organisation, a post-Soviet security body, to deploy a “small” number of troops in disputed border areas.

“…There will be no peace until an arbitrator stands between us,” he said.

Both Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan maintain close ties with Moscow and host Russian military bases.

Reporting by Olga Dzyubenko; Additional reporting by Nazarali Pirnazarov in Dushanbe; Writing by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Alex Richardson

Photo: Kyrgyz servicemen stand at a checkpoint after state of emergency was declared in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. EPA-EFE/IGOR KOVALENKO

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