Russia has agreed to assist Tajikistan in modernizing its armed forces and fortifying its border in light of threats emanating from Afghanistan’s territory, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Tuesday.
The announcement was made following talks between Lavrov and his Tajik counterpart Sirodjiddin Muhriddin in Dushanbe.
"We have already began work to provide assistance to our Tajik friends in re-equipping their armed forces, fortifying the state border, including in light of the persisting threats, which continue to emanate from Afghanistan’s territory," Lavrov said.
Russia’s Tass news agency reported that Lavrov said, in reference to Russia’s 201st Motor Rifle Division in Tajikistan, that "this is an important factor for Tajikistan’s security and an important factor of those common challenges dealt with by the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO)."
"We expressed quite a few interesting ideas concerning the development of cooperation in Central Asia to solve the remaining problems here most effectively and promote the harmonious development of all states in the region," Lavrov noted.
"Russia is ready to contribute to these processes using our historical connections, our common economic base, which was created during the Soviet era and, of course, using our mutual interest in maintaining the security of this region where our allies and friends live."
Xinhua meanwhile reported that following Lavrov’s press conference he told college students in Dushanbe that the situation in Afghanistan is alarming.
According to him, Daesh terrorists attempt to take control of sections of the Afghan border in the north, in particular the border with Tajikistan.
Russia, therefore, will continue to contribute to the strengthening of the combat capability of the Tajik armed forces, supplying them with modern weapons and military equipment, and holding joint drills, Lavrov said.
Radio Free Europe meanwhile reported that about 7,000 troops from Russia’s 201st Motor Rifle Division are stationed at three facilities that are considered part of the Russian base in Tajikistan.
Lavrov, who started his Central Asian tour on February 4 with a visit to Kyrgyzstan, said in Bishkek earlier that Moscow is open to talks about setting up a second Russian military base in Kyrgyzstan if Kyrgyz authorities initiate the issue.