Russia and Tajikistan begin joint military drills along Afghanistan’s border

In response to escalating terrorism threats, the Russian Defense Ministry announced the commencement of joint military exercises with Tajikistan along the Afghanistan border.

Tajik media, referencing the Russian Defense Ministry’s announcement, reported that forces from Russia’s 201st Military Base stationed in Tajikistan are participating in the drills. The base is the largest Russian military facility outside its borders.

The exercises involve mountain troops, tank units, artillery, intelligence sectors, specialists in chemical attack defense, electronic warfare security, and helicopter crews from both nations.

These maneuvers are designed to train the armed forces in “neutralizing terrorist groups” and preparing for operations in mountainous terrain, according to reports.

Tajik media sources state that the exercises will continue through April 18, coinciding with heightened security concerns expressed by the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) regarding “terrorism threats” and the potential infiltration of extremist Islamic groups into Central Asia.

In an interview with Russian news agency TASS, the CSTO Secretary-General previously stated that plans to “strengthen” the borders of member countries, particularly Tajikistan’s border with Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, are intended to prevent “terrorism threats.”

However, the Taliban have dismissed concerns about terrorists crossing from Afghanistan into CSTO member states as unfounded, asserting that they will not allow any group to use Afghan soil to attack another country.

The urgency of these drills is underscored by a recent attack in the Moscow suburbs at a music concert hall, where ISIS-Khorasan was blamed for over 140 deaths and numerous injuries, as stated by some U.S. officials. This group is reportedly organized primarily from Afghanistan.

This marks yet another instance where Russia and Tajikistan have conducted joint military exercises along the Afghan border since the Taliban’s return to power.

The Taliban have yet to comment on the ongoing Russian-Tajik military drills.