A security bloc formed after the collapse of the Soviet Union led by Russia began, on Monday, October 18, 2021, the largest military exercises in years near the Tajik-Afghan border, amid cross-border tension, ahead of talks between Afghanistan’s new leaders from the Taliban movement and major regional powers.
These exercises come at a time when Tajikistan refused to recognize the Taliban; There are reports of crowds on both sides, in contrast to Afghanistan’s other northern neighbors who have recognized the movement’s de facto leadership and have begun to establish working relations with Kabul.
Details of the exercises in which Russia participates
The defense ministries of Russia and Tajikistan said that more than 5,000 soldiers, more than half of them Russians, will participate in the exercises conducted by the Collective Security Treaty Organization.
The six-day exercises follow a series of smaller exercises that Russia and its Central Asian allies conducted on the Afghan border in August and September.
It is noteworthy that Russia fears the possibility of Islamist militants infiltrating it from the former Soviet republics in Central Asia, which Moscow considers a defensive fortress on its southern borders.
It is noteworthy that Russia operates a military base in Tajikistan, one of the republics of the former Soviet Union, and assured Dushanbe that it would help it in the event of any penetration of its territory across the border.
A high-ranking Taliban delegation heads to Moscow
A high-ranking Taliban delegation is due to visit Moscow this week for talks that will also include China, Pakistan, India and Iran, although a senior Russian official was quoted as saying he did not expect any major results from the visit.
For his part, Samir Kabulov, representative of Russian President Vladimir Putin on Afghanistan, said that officials from Russia, the United States, China and Pakistan will hold separate talks in Moscow on Tuesday, to reach a unified position on the new situation in Afghanistan.
It is noteworthy that Moscow had hosted an international conference on Afghanistan in March, during which Russia, the United States, China and Pakistan issued a joint statement calling on the Afghan warring parties at the time to reach a peace agreement and curb violence.
Then the United States and its allies withdrew their forces from Afghanistan after 20 years of war, the Taliban seized power in a lightning advance and the previous government collapsed.