Russia Pledges Military Defense Of Tajikistan In Case Of Incursion From Afghanistan
Since the start of the August rapid evacuation of US forces from Kabul, Russia has been flexing its military might in central Asia – in particular with military drills with its regional ally Tajikistan, geared toward protecting the porous border as Afghans fled the Taliban, which included national Afghan troops abandoning their posts in droves – which saw them also flee into other neighboring countries like Uzbekistan.
Reuters reports based on official statements that Moscow is now pledging to defend Tajikistan in the instance of a spillover in fighting or direct threats from terrorists launching strikes out of Afghanistan. Over the past weeks there have been reports that both Taliban and Tajik forces were engaged in troop build-ups on either side of the over 840-mile long border.
The Tajik side has accused the Taliban of seeking to use ethnic Tajiks in northern Afghanistan as potential terror proxies to strike inside of Tajikistan, resulting in ratcheting border tensions and rival build-up of forces. Tajiks remain Afghanistan’s second largest ethnic group, in many northern areas actually making up the majority of the local population.
“Russia is ready to protect its ally Tajikistan in the event of any incursions from neighboring Afghanistan, a senior diplomat was quoted on Friday as saying, amid Russian media reports of a militant Tajik group preparing a cross-border attack,” according to Reuters.
“All necessary assistance will be provided to Tajikistan if required, both within the (Moscow-led) Collective Security Treaty Organisation framework and bilaterally,” the Russian official, Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Rudenko, said further as cited in Interfax.
“There are indeed reports that the Taliban cannot control the situation (in northern Afghanistan)… Still, we hope they will honor the promises they have made (about not attacking neighbors),” Rudenko added; however without provide further details.
From late July through August, Russia began openly ramping up its arms transfers to Tajikistan, and also bolstered its own military base in the country – especially by sending tanks. Also by late August the two allies conducted major military drills, which included aerial assets, simulating repelling terrorist attacks from border regions.
Sat, 10/09/2021 – 07:35