Radio Free Europe

RFE/RL journalists report the news in 22 countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established, including Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Russia.

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Bishkek Rejects Dushanbe's Allegation Of Persecution Of Ethnic Tajiks In Kyrgyzstan.

A Kyrgyz soldier patrols near a damaged mosque in the village of Maksat near the Kyrgyz-Tajik border after deadly clashes broke out in the region earlier this month.

A Kyrgyz soldier patrols near a damaged mosque in the village of Maksat near the Kyrgyz-Tajik border after deadly clashes broke out in the region earlier this month.

BISHKEK -- Bishkek has rejected a statement by Tajikistan alleging that ethnic Tajiks are being persecuted in Kyrgyzstan on ethnically motivated grounds.

In a statement issued late on September 22, the Kyrgyz Foreign Ministry called the Tajik statement "provocative," adding that Dushanbe "has fully discredited itself on the international scene by its groundless statements recently."
Earlier in the day, the Tajik Foreign Ministry had accused the Kyrgyz government of going after ethnic Tajiks, alleging, among other things, cases such as "an ethnically motivated attack in Kyrgyzstan's Osh region on September 18 against a Tajik woman, Nasibakhon Davronbekova, who is a correspondent of RFE/RL." RFE/RL does not have any correspondent in Kyrgyzstan or elsewhere with that name. The ministry removed the sentence in question from the statement shortly afterward. A regional correspondent for the Voice of America who is based in Osh, Davronbek Nasibkhonov, is the only correspondent in the region working for an international broadcaster with a name similar to the one mentioned in the Tajik statement, accused Tajik authorities of misusing his name and surname for their political campaign. He wrote on Facebook that he is neither Tajik nor a woman, and that he has nothing to do with RFE/RL.
Nasibkhonov said he is an ethnic Uzbek and a citizen of Kyrgyzstan, confirming that he was involved in a brawl on September 18 in the central park in Osh, but emphasizing that it had nothing to do with any ethnic issues. The exchange of statements between the two Central Asian nations comes amid heightened tensions following deadly clashes along the border between September 14 and September 17. Since a cease-fire was reached on September 19, Tajikistan has accused Kyrgyzstan of violating the agreement. The Kyrgyz side has rejected the accusation, saying it has stuck to all the conditions of the agreement. Kyrgyz officials say 59 of its citizens died in the recent clashes, and 183 others were injured. Tajikistan has put its death toll at 41, but correspondents for RFE/RL's Tajik Service have reported after talking to relatives and friends of the people killed during the clashes that the number of dead appears to be nearly double that number. They concluded that 70 people, including dozens of civilians, lost their lives and have compiled a list of those killed.
Many border areas in Central Asia have been disputed since the Soviet Union's collapse in 1991. The situation is particularly complicated near the numerous exclaves in the volatile Ferghana Valley, where the borders of Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan meet. Almost half of the 970-kilometer Kyrgyz-Tajik border has yet to be demarcated, leading to repeated tensions since the two countries gained independence more than three decades ago.

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