Russia Says Military Drills Along Afghan Border Mimic Syria Anti-Insurgent Operations
This week Russia and Uzbekistan held joint military drills near the Afghan border as the Kremlin bolsters its troop presence with central Asian allies along border areas which have seen heavy fighting on the other side as US forces withdraw. Both countries are said to be “nervous that a worsening security situation in Afghanistan could spill over into Central Asia,” Reuters writes.
Russia’s defense ministry said the war drills which ran into Friday included about 1,500 troops and 200 pieces of military equipment, also with Tupolev-22M3 long range strategic bombers coordinating with ground forces, said to be based on experienced gained in “operations against illegal armed groups in Syria.”
The reference reflects operations geared toward ensuring Afghan jihadi insurgents don’t pour across the border, which has also seen national forces as well as fleeing civilians seek refuge. Russia has been bolstering its military cooperation with Tajikistan of late as well.
“In a simulated special operation a joint contingent prevented illegal armed groups from crossing the state border,” a Russian military press release stated. “The joint force conducted air reconnaissance and prevented a penetration of large armed groups. The militants were sealed off, chased and eventually eliminated in a rural community.”
While the Taliban has recently made rapid gains against national forces in the north and south, it’s particularly Afghanistan’s southern provinces which are most heavily threatened this week. On Friday for the first time a provincial capital fell to the Taliban, specifically Zaranj – capital of southwest Nimruz province and key border crossing with Iran.
And neighboring Helmand province, which is the country’s largest province by area, is also this week under threat – likely to soon fall as Afghan national forces are said to be on the defensive and surrounded, with 9 of 10 of its districts under control of the jihadists.
Sat, 08/07/2021 – 07:35