Tajikistan appeals for help to secure border with Afghanistan

Tajikistan has appealed to member nations of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) for help in dealing with security challenges emerging from neighboring Afghanistan, Tajik media reported Thursday.

In an appeal on Wednesday, Dushanbe reportedly said it could not manage the instability at its border without external assistance.

“Given the current situation in the region, as well as the remoteness and mountainous terrain of some parts of the border with Afghanistan, dealing with this challenge on our own seems difficult,” Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency quoted Hasan Sultonov, the Tajik representative at the CSTO, as saying.

“Therefore, we would like to call on the member states of the organization to contribute to the full implementation” of a 2013 resolution to provide assistance to Tajikistan in strengthening the Tajik-Afghan border, Sultonov said, Armenia’s Armen Press reported.

The CSTO member nations include Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Russia,

Dushanbe’s call came hours after Moscow pledged to defend its Central Asian allies threatened by the intensifying violence in Afghanistan.

On Tuesday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Rudenko said that Moscow stood ready to provide Tajikistan with any assistance it needed.

RIA Novosti reported that Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov noted at a press conference in Laos on Wednesday that Moscow is ready to use its military base in Tajikistan, its largest military base abroad, to ensure the security of its allies.

“We will do everything we can, including using the capabilities of the Russian military base on Tajikistan’s border with Afghanistan, to prevent any aggressive impulses toward our allies,” Lavrov said.

Lavrov said CSTO representatives have visited the Tajik-Afghan border and will report back on the situation to the Permanent Council.

Asia Plus reported that more than 1,500 Afghan civilians and servicemen have fled to neighboring Tajikistan over the past seventeen days.

Tajik authorities say that two-thirds of the 1,357-kilometer border with Afghanistan is under Taliban control.