Russia ready to help Tajikistan amid Afghan conflict

Russia is ready to provide its ally Tajikistan with any assistance needed amid a worsening conflict in neighbouring Afghanistan, Russia’s TASS news agency cited Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu as saying on Wednesday.

Reuters reported that Shoigu said the additional supply of Russian arms to Tajikistan had already been arranged and that Russia was continuing to train Tajik military personnel, against the backdrop of a U.S.-led troop withdrawal after a 20-year intervention.

Russia on Friday pledged to help Tajikistan build a new outpost on the Tajik-Afghan border and announced the two countries would hold major drills next month.

In addition, Shoigu and his Tajik counterpart Sherali Mirzo on Saturday discussed joint measures to counter threats from the Taliban along the border.

“The parties discussed the situation in the Tajik-Afghan border area and joint measures to neutralize threats related to the escalating situation in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan,” TASS quoted the Russian ministry as saying.

Russia operates a military base in Tajikistan, a former Soviet republic, whose government has expressed concern about the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan.