Afghanistan Source of Instability, Says Russian Defence Minister

Friday, 05/31/2024

Andrei Belousov, recently appointed by Vladimir Putin as Russia's Defence Minister, has called for increased security measures along the Tajikistan-Afghanistan border.

He described Afghanistan as the principal source of instability in Central Asia, stating, "We are on the frontline."

Belousov spoke at the 83rd meeting of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation's (CSTO) Defence Council in Almaty on Friday.

According to a statement from the Russian Ministry of Defence, he highlighted the continuous threat posed by numerous radical groups within Afghanistan which are intensifying their efforts to propagate their ideologies in neighbouring republics.

The Defence Minister warned of the threat of terrorist groups expanding beyond Afghan borders and emphasised on the necessity of constant vigilance and timely actions to stabilise the region, particularly along the Tajik-Afghan border.

Belousov also stressed on the importance of enhancing military coherence and combat readiness of Russian and Tajik forces stationed in the area. He referred to Russia's Base 201 in Tajikistan, which has conducted several military exercises in recent years along the Afghan border with Tajikistan and other countries.

"The key issue is that we are now on the frontline. The situation on the southern borders of CSTO member states is extremely challenging," Belousov noted.

"Additionally, the conditions and trends in Afghanistan are deteriorating; we are monitoring them, understanding how to manage them, but all this necessitates our heightened attention and increased readiness," he added.

Following the Taliban's rise to power in Afghanistan, Tajik officials have repeatedly advocated in regional meetings for the creation of a "security belt" around Afghanistan. Security concerns in Russia and other CSTO member states have significantly heightened following the March 22 attack near Moscow.

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