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Russia worried as Taliban rebels close in on borders

AT Monitoring Desk

KABUL: Russia is concerned about the developments in Afghanistan’s border regions after the withdrawal of US troops from there, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday.

“Of course, after the Americans and their allies pull out of Afghanistan, the situation in that country is a matter of grave concern for us. We are keeping a close eye [on the situation] and note that, unfortunately, destabilization is taking place,” TASS quoted him as saying.

When asked whether Russia was exploring the possibility of sending additional troops to help Tajikistan protect the border, the Kremlin spokesman noted that Russian military servicemen and border guards would monitor the situation in Afghanistan’s border regions and make appropriate decisions. “As for an additional contingent, I cannot tell you. Of course, as the situation evolves, and we see that, unfortunately, it is not evolving in the best possible way, the necessary decisions will be made by our military and border guards,” he stressed.

On Monday, the press center of the Border Guard Troops of Tajikistan’s State Committee for National Security said in a statement that more than 1,000 Afghan troops had retreated to Tajikistan after battles with the Taliban (outlawed in Russia). Afghan troops had to cross the Tajik border several times over the past two weeks.

Secretary General of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) Stanislav Zas earlier said that the situation in Afghanistan’s northern regions was worsening, and that triggered alarm bells within the organization. According to Zas, it is essential to provide assistance to Tajikistan in ensuring the security of the southern border. On July 1, the Council of the CSTO Parliamentary Assembly approved a statement expressing concern about the situation in Afghanistan and urged all political actors in that country to facilitate the peace process.

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