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Kyrgyz-Tajik Border Tensions Increase After Arson Attack

An arson attack on a tea house near the Kyrgyz-Tajik border has raised tensions in the area.
BISHKEK -- An arson attack has destroyed a teahouse belonging to a Kyrgyz national in a disputed area along the Kyrgyz-Tajik border.

The incident on December 17 increased tensions between local Kyrgyz and Tajiks, which led to negotiations between Kyrgyz and Tajik officials in Tajikistan's Isfara district on the following day.

The incident took place a day after Tajik border guards released two Kyrgyz citizens detained on December 15 for allegedly crossing the border illegally.

On December 18, the Kyrgyz government asked Tajikistan to hold the next round of talks on border demarcation on December 24.

Clashes between Kyrgyz and Tajiks along the border have been reported several times this year.

Three countries sharing the Ferghana Valley -- Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan -- inherited unclear borders upon gaining independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

Many populated areas remain in dispute.