Russia to supply weapons to Afghanistan's neighbours

Moscow received new orders for arms and helicopters from Central Asian republics following the Taliban's takeover


AFP August 26, 2021
Russian servicemen participate in 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. PHOTO: REUTERS

Russia said on Thursday it has received new orders for arms and helicopters from Central Asian republics bordering Afghanistan following the Taliban's takeover of the country.

The orders come as countries in the ex-Soviet region, where Moscow holds military bases, have raised concerns after the Taliban swept to power.

"We are already working on a number of orders from countries in the region for the supply of Russian helicopters, fire arms and modern border protection systems," Alexander Mikheev, the head of Russia's state arms exporter Rosoboronexport, told the RIA Novosti news agency.

While Russia remains cautiously optimistic about the new leadership in Kabul, it has warned of militants entering neighbouring countries as refugees.

Also read: ‘No extension in evacuations from Afghanistan’, Taliban tell US

Uzbekistan and Tajikistan earlier this month held joint military exercises with Russia close to their borders with Afghanistan.

Drills involving members of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO), a military alliance led by Moscow, are also scheduled in Kyrgyzstan between September 7 and 9.

The manoeuvres will focus on "the destruction of illegal armed groups that have invaded the territory of a CSTO member state", according to the press-service of the alliance quoted by the Interfax news agency.

While the Taliban has said it does not pose a threat to Central Asian countries, the ex-Soviet republics in the region have previously been targeted by attacks attributed to allies of Afghan militants.

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