Russia has sent armored vehicles and military equipment to Tajikistan, Afghanistan’s neighbor, against the backdrop of “growing instability” near the southern border, says the defense ministry.
The ministry announced in a statement on Saturday it had transferred 12 armored vehicles and an array of military equipment, which includes close combat equipment and protective gear, to Tajikistan.
“Against the backdrop of growing instability near Tajikistan’s southern border, we are working together to ensure the security of our states,” Major General Yevgeny Tsindyaikin said in the statement.
Russia’s Interfax news agency reported on Friday that Moscow will equip its military base in Tajikistan with 30 new tanks by the end of the year.
Russia has held military exercises near the border with Afghanistan and expanded hardware at the base, after the Taliban intensified their offensives against Afghan government forces, amid the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan.
As the unfolding situation in Afghanistan raised concern over security threats against Tajikistan, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said back then that additional supplies of weaponry and equipment would be provided to bolster Tajikistan's army from the military base in the country.
Russia said Washington’s chaotic, hasty withdrawal of its troops from Afghanistan had deteriorated stability in the Central Asia region.
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said last month that Moscow did not want to see American troops in the Central Asian countries and to the south of Russia’s border as the measure would make the region a target for militant attacks.
The United States and its allies invaded Afghanistan in October 2001 as part of the so-called war on terror. The invasion ended the Taliban’s rule in the country back then, but it is now ended with the return of the group to power.
President Vladimir Putin of Russia said on Thursday that the current chaotic situation in Afghanistan stems directly from Washington’s “irresponsible attempts to impose alien values from the outside and the intention to build the so-called democracy.”