Russia beefs up Tajik base, warns of IS presence in Afghanistan

Published July 29, 2021
In this file photo, Russian tanks stationed at Moscow’s base in Tajikistan arrive at training grounds near the border with Afghanistan ahead of army drills. — AFP/File
In this file photo, Russian tanks stationed at Moscow’s base in Tajikistan arrive at training grounds near the border with Afghanistan ahead of army drills. — AFP/File

MOSCOW: Russia said on Wednesday it was beefing up the combat capabilities of its military base in Tajikistan and training local soldiers, as Moscow warned that fighters of the militant Islamic State group were moving into neighbouring Afghanistan.

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, who was in Tajikistan on Wednesday for talks, said the security situation had rapidly deteriorated in Afghanistan amid a US troop withdrawal.

That withdrawal has prompted Moscow to prepare for a potentially major security challenge on the edge of its Muslim-majority Central Asian backyard.

In particular, Moscow has expressed alarm over what it has described as the growing strength of IS elements in northern Afghanistan.

Shoigu said that IS fighters were moving into Afghanistan from Syria, Libya and several other countries.

“What’s more, in some parts, we can also see that these movements are quite seriously organised,” Shoigu was quoted as saying by the RIA news agency.

Calling the US troop exit “hasty”, Shoigu said that Moscow was training Tajik military personnel at Russian military universities and facilities affiliated with the military base it operates in Tajikistan.

“We provide everything needed for military training,” Shoigu was quoted as saying.

“We are paying increased attention to strengthening the combat capabilities of our base and refining plans to jointly repel possible insurgent infiltration,” he said.

A senior Russian diplomat has said that Moscow views Taliban gains in northern Afghanistan as having a security upside because the group is hostile to what Russia regards as more dangerous Islamist extremists.

Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan will hold joint military drills next week near Tajikistan’s border with Afghanistan, where the Taliban has made huge military gains and claims to control 90 percent of the country’s borders.

Published in Dawn, July 29th , 2021

Opinion

Hoping for miracles
Updated 26 Sep 2021

Hoping for miracles

Pakistan will be exposed to international recrimination if the Taliban revert to their old ways.

Editorial

Updated 26 Sep 2021

Intransigent Taliban

PRIME MINISTER Imran Khan has delivered an effective speech at the UN General Assembly session detailing the salient...
26 Sep 2021

Deadly misinformation

THE distinction between ‘fake’ and ‘authentic’ news is now a concept impossible to escape. In an...
26 Sep 2021

Covid arrests

THE unilateral decision taken by Karachi’s East Zone police to arrest citizens without Covid vaccination cards ...
25 Sep 2021

NAB controversy

THE completion of the four-year term of NAB chairman Javed Iqbal early next month has afforded Prime Minister Imran...
Cabinet ‘inclusivity’
Updated 25 Sep 2021

Cabinet ‘inclusivity’

Voices are being raised questioning when the much-hyped inclusivity the group had talked about will materialise.
25 Sep 2021

Quorum malady

LACK of quorum has become a chronic problem for the present National Assembly which is in the process of becoming a...