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BISHKEK: Kyrgyzstan said Thursday it had quickly agreed a ceasefire with Tajikistan after the heaviest clashes in years erupted along the Central Asian countries' disputed frontier.

Kyrgyzstan's foreign ministry said in a statement that a "complete ceasefire" had been agreed from 8:00 pm (1400 GMT) on Thursday, with military forces returning to bases. Tajikistan did not immediately release an official statement on the agreement.

The two neighbours have been locked in border disputes for decades and there have been sporadic clashes along the frontier for years. But Thursday's outbreak of fighting involving their two militaries was rare and raised fears of the clashes escalating into a wider conflict.

Before Kyrgyzstan announced the ceasefire, both sides said their forces had clashed, while Kyrgyzstan said its troops had seized a border post. Kyrgyzstan's health ministry said in a statement late on Thursday that the country had suffered 46 casualties including one death during the fighting.

Tajikistan, a closed strongly authoritarian state, made fewer statements as fighting raged. Its national security committee said earlier Thursday that two people had been admitted to hospital with gunshot wounds, one of whom was in a serious condition.

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