In late April, 2021, deadly cross-border violence resulted in the deaths of 36 Kyrgyz and 19 Tajik citizens.1 To say that the Kyrgyz-Tajik border is complicated would be an understatement. The Soviet collapse in 1991 transformed internal and often overlooked administrative boundaries into suddenly salient and internationally recognized state borders. Villages, farmland, pasture, and infrastructure once shared with little afterthought during the Soviet period today straddle sovereign nations. Exclaves make cross-border travel, commerce, and politics even more complicated. Three Uzbek and two Tajik exclaves are within Kyrgyzstan and some of the worst violence during the April 2021 conflict occurred along the road that leads to the Tajik exclave, Vorukh.
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The Hollings Center for International Dialogue is a non-profit, non-governmental organization dedicated to fostering dialogue between the United States and countries with predominantly Muslim populations in the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia, Eurasia and Europe. In pursuit of this mission, the Hollings Center convenes dialogue conferences that generate new thinking on important international issues and deepen channels of communication across opinion leaders and experts.