Tajik Police Officer Arrested In Kyrgyzstan For Drug Trafficking

Kyrgyz officials say a Tajik traffic police officer has been arrested along with another Tajik national for allegedly trafficking illegal drugs amid tense relations between two Central Asian neighbors after a deadly shooting along a disputed segment of the Kyrgyz-Tajik border.

The Kyrgyz Interior Ministry said on June 15 that the two Tajik citizens were apprehended in the Batken region after Kyrgyz police allegedly found more than 31 kilograms of an unidentified drug in their possession.

According to the ministry, the two suspects are part of an alleged criminal group involved in illegal drugs trafficking from Afghanistan to Kazakhstan via Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.

Tajik officials have yet to comment on the Kyrgyz authorities' statement.

Meanwhile, in Tajikistan, the body of 26-year-old Murodbek Mahmadqulov, a border guard, was laid to rest after he was shot dead in a shoot-out with Kyrgyz border guards a day earlier.

Tajik authorities have not commented officially on Mahmadqulov's killing, stating only that the commander of Tajikistan’s Kekh border outpost was severely wounded after the Kyrgyz side "suddenly opened fire and shelled the village of Vorukh with mortars."

Kyrgyzstan has insisted that its border guards only opened fire after an initial shot was fired from the Tajik side of the border.

Many border areas in Central Asia have been disputed since the Soviet Union's collapse.

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 three decades ago.