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Weekend Shootings on Central Asia’s Porous Borders

Three shootings took place on three different sections of Central Asian frontier over the weekend, highlighting how violence-prone the region’s porous borders have become. 
 
The first incident, at a Kyrgyz border post near Tajikistan, left one border guard dead and two wounded. A private has now allegedly confessed to killing his superior in the January 16 shooting, Kloop.kg reports.
 
Conditions for junior soldiers in Central Asia’s militaries are notoriously abysmal, with senior officers meting out physical abuse and sometimes requiring their underlings to perform in slave-like conditions. So fragging is not inconceivable.
 
Two days later, Kyrgyz border guards shot a man they describe as an Uzbek hunter who crossed the border illegally, with two others, and opened fire. The Kyrgyz Border Service says it has handed over the wounded man to the Uzbek authorities, which apprehended the other two when they retreated back home. (Update: An Uzbek official later said Kyrgyz border guards had illegally crossed into Uzbekistan and illegally seized the hunters' rifles before retreating.)
 
Also on January 18, on the drug-saturated Tajik-Afghan border where shootings are common, a Tajik conscript was shot by drug smugglers, Tajik authorities say
 
Official accounts in such cases are often subject to exaggeration or even willful distortion because all three borders are frequently traversed by smugglers operating with the protection of venal officials.
 
But collectively the incidents show weak states grappling to defend porous borders that are ripe for further violence.
 
In December, four Tajik border guards who had wandered into Afghanistan to gather firewood were abducted – by militants, according to some accounts – and have been held in Afghanistan ever since. Tajik officials have said in recent weeks that well-armed insurgents have been grouping on the other side of the border.

Weekend Shootings on Central Asia’s Porous Borders

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