News ID: 317193
Published: 0245 GMT October 18, 2021

Russia-led bloc holds large-scale drills near Tajik-Afghan border

Russia-led bloc holds large-scale drills near Tajik-Afghan border

A Russia-led post-Soviet security bloc started its largest military drills near the Tajik-Afghan border in years on Monday amid cross-border tensions ahead of talks between Afghanistan's new Taliban leaders and major regional powers.

Tajikistan has refused to recognise the Taliban so far and there are reports of troop build-ups on both sides of the border, Reuters reported.

The exercise carried out by the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) will involve over 5,000 servicemen, more than half of them Russian soldiers, Russia and Tajikistan's defence ministries said.

The six-day drills follow a series of smaller-scale exercises held in the vicinity of the Afghan border by Russia and its Central Asian allies in August and September.

Russia is worried about the possibility of militants infiltrating the former Soviet republics of Central Asia, which Moscow views as its southern defensive buffer.

Moscow operates a military base in the former Soviet republic and has reassured Dushanbe it would assist it in the event of any cross-border intrusion.

A high-level Taliban delegation is set to visit Moscow this week for talks that will also involve China, Pakistan, India and Iran.






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