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Russia promises Tajikistan gratuitous arms supplies

Russia will provide military assistance to Tajikistan, if the country’s security is threatened in connection with the developments in neighboring Afghanistan. Defense Minister of Russia Sergei Shoigu promised, Interfax reports.

According to him, Moscow will equip the Tajik army with weapons and equipment free of charge.

«We do not, of course, disregard all the events taking place on the border and attempts to move the militants into the territory of Tajikistan. That is why I can say unequivocally that in case of a threat to our ally — member of the Collective Security Treaty, of course, Russia will react and react first of all with the 201st base on the territory of Tajikistan,» Shoigu said.

The 201st base exists there to maintain stability and peace in the region of one of the CSTO members in Central Asia.

Sergei Shoigu

The head of the Ministry of Defense added that the Russian military is also helping Tajikistan in training qualified military personnel. Officers are trained at specialized Russian universities and at the 201st Russian military base in Tajikistan.

Shoigu stressed that at present the Russian military record active movements of militants of the Islamic State extremist group to the territory of Afghanistan from different countries, including Syria and Libya.

«We, of course, very much hope that some kind of consensus and interethnic reconciliation will be reached in Afghanistan. But at the same time, we see how actively ISIS units are moving, moving there from different regions, including Syria, Libya. Moreover, in some part we observe a rather serious organization of these movements,» Shoigu noted.

In early July, Tajikistan turned to the states of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) for help in protecting the border with Afghanistan. The military alliance brings together a number of former Soviet republics led by Russia.

The conflict in Afghanistan flares up simultaneously with the withdrawal of U.S. and other NATO military personnel from the country. The Western coalition plans to completely withdraw its forces by mid-September.

According to the Tajik authorities, about two-thirds of the total border with Afghanistan is now under the control of radical Islamists. In general, its length is over 1,350 kilometers. An influx of refugees is expected in Dushanbe and it has already begun to provide shelter and food to those arriving in the country.

The 201st Russian military base was formed in 2004 and is deployed in Dushanbe, Kulyab and Bokhtar in Tajikistan. Its presence has been extended until 2042.