Russia sends armored vehicles, military equipment to Tajikistan

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MOSCOW, Sept 11 (Reuters) – Russia sent Tajikistan 12 armored vehicles and an array of military equipment, its defense ministry said on Saturday, as Moscow looks to shore up its Central Asian ally that neighbors Afghanistan.FILE - A view shows military hardware and troops during joint military drills involving Russia, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, at the Harb-Maidon training ground, located near the Tajik-Afghan border in the Khatlon Region of Tajikistan August 10, 2021. REUTERS/Didor Sadulloev© Thomson Reuters FILE – A view shows military hardware and troops during joint military drills involving Russia, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, at the Harb-Maidon training ground, located near the Tajik-Afghan border in the Khatlon Region of Tajikistan August 10, 2021. REUTERS/Didor Sadulloev

Moscow has held military exercises in Tajikistan and expanded hardware at its military base there, its biggest in a foreign country, since the U.S. withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and the Taliban’s lightning takeover.

Russia is worried about the potential for fallout in the wider region and the possibility of Islamist militants infiltrating Central Asia, which Moscow sees as its southern defensive buffer.

“Against the backdrop of growing instability near Tajikistan’s southern border, we are working together to ensure the security of our states,” said Major General Yevgeny Tsindyaikin in a defense ministry statement.

The transfer of hardware, which also includes close combat equipment and protective gear, will modernize and significantly enhance Tajikistan’s military capabilities, the ministry said.

Tajikistan’s border with Afghanistan stretches for 1,344 km (835 miles), and much of it is mountainous and hard to police. (Reporting by Alexander Marrow; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne) AdChoices

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