By Ulviye Filiyeva ERKEC
In Central Asian countries, security concerns have increased with the Taliban’s capture of Kabul. On the other hand, it is estimated that these countries may act together with Russia and China in the context of their membership in the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) and Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).
What is Russia doing in the mountains of Tajikistan?
On August 25, Russia, due to the situation in Afghanistan, transported its T-72 tanks, for the military exercises, in the mountains of Tajikistan and fired at long range. Russian tanks and armored vehicles of the Tajik Armed Forces are currently deployed approximately 10-12 kilometers away from the Afghan border. It was previously reported that Russia will use long-range Tu-22M3 bombers if necessary, against Taliban members.
Background: Tajikistan has the longest border with Afghanistan today, with about 60 percent ofthe Soviet Union-Afghanistan border remaining on its territory. Therefore, the 201st Military Base, from the USSR era, located in Tajikistan today, is considered Russia’s the largest military facility outside the borders of itself.
- Modernized in 2020, the base has a total of approximately 7 thousand people, 300 tanks and around 2,500 armored vehicles.
- Despite the assurances it received from the Taliban, Russia conducted large-scale military exercises at the beginning of August, first bilaterally with Uzbekistan, and then trilaterally with Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
Russia’s Efforts to Strengthen its Security Perimeter: Also, the Russian Ministry of Defense decided to place an over-the-horizon radar system-“Container” along the state border. The statement was made by Yuri Anoshko, General Director of the company “RTI Systems”. The head of the Russian engineering company noted that these stations can detect enemy aircraft at a distance of 3 thousand kilometers. Anoshko did not specify the number of radars that will be included in the system, but noted that “they should be deployed along our border and overlap the relevant area.” The expert also said that the “Container” radar uses a wavelength between the range of tens to hundreds of meters, re-reflecting from the ionosphere.
According to a military expert, “Russia and Tajikistan show the Taliban that they are ready to use the full force of their armies. If terrorists try to carry out any provocation or try to enter the territory of Tajikistan, or in the event of an attack on Russia’s CSTO ally, the number of casualties of militants from the very first moments will be the thousands.”
Evacuation of the Russians: While efforts to ensure security continue, Russia continues the process of bringing its citizens from Afghanistan to the country without interruption. On August 25, the Russian Ministry of Defense sent four military transport aircraft to drive the Russians out of Afghanistan. The evacuation was carried out on the instructions of Russian President Vladimir Putin, giving them to the head of the military department, Sergey Shoigu.