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Monday, April 9, 2018

Russia to Continue Assistance to Tajik Military

Russia aims to continue support for the Tajik military.

In comments with his Tajik counterpart, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov pledged further Russian support for the Tajik military.

Foreign Minister Lavrov stated, "We have confirmed that we are ready to continue assisting our Tajik friends in modernizing and reequipping the country’s armed forces. We will provide our cooperation in order to ensure that the borders of Tajikistan are strengthened."

The foreign minister did not offer further details on what military would be provided to the Tajik military. The two countries regularly conduct joint exercises, geared towards counterinsurgency contingencies.

Russia has often donated military hardware to the Tajik Armed Forces. Dushanbe's military budget is small, meaning the country often lacks the funds for procurement of military systems for its forces.

In 2017, Russia delivered material worth about $122 million to the Tajik military. Included in the deliveries were small arms, artillery, BTR-80s, BMP-2s, T-72s, Mi-8s, and Mi-24s. The Tajik military also received air-defense systems.

Moscow operates a large military deployment in Tajikistan that assists the country in securing its border. Both Russia and Tajikistan are concerned about the situation in neighboring Afghanistan, where the government is battling Taliban forces and an Islamic State cell. Insurgents have at times seized territory near the border with Tajikistan, prompting concern that violence could spill across the border.

Tajik Defense Minister Sherali Mirzo stated that Russian-delivered systems will help Tajikistan secure its border.

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