Why did Russia hold military drills on the Tajik-Afghan border? | DW News

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DW News published this video item, entitled “Why did Russia hold military drills on the Tajik-Afghan border? | DW News” – below is their description.

Russia has just concluded large-scale military drills with Tajikistan near its border with Afghanistan.

The Taliban takeover there has been a cause for concern for some of its northern neighbors. Tajikistan has refused to recognize the militants’ authority, and has teamed up with Russia to beef up border security. The tensions come ahead of talks between the Taliban and regional powers.

DW Moscow Bureau chief Juri Rescheto was invited as a member of the press to observe the joint exercises – although independent reporting is restricted. He sent us this report.

Led by Russian troops, a total of four thousand Tajik, Belarusian, Kazakh and Armenian soldiers are practicing anti-terrorist maneuvers.

In Tajikistan – close to the border with Afghanistan – Russia and its allies hope that these military exercises will send a clear message to the Taliban and the wider world. They want to show that their forces are united and committed to the fight against international terrorism.

Fears that terrorism could be on the rise following the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan have led to the strengthening of military cooperation within the so-called Collective Security Treaty Organization, a Russian-led military alliance of several former Soviet Union states.

Russia has had a long and dramatic relationship with Afghanistan and has kept its distance from the country after a failed attempt to install a communist government in Kabul in the 1980s. But after the Taliban seized power earlier this year, Russia has been trying to sell itself as a mediator – between the West and the new rulers. Analysts think Moscow is trying to seize the opportunity to exert its influence on the entire region – especially on the Central Asian states of the former Soviet Union:

The Russian Foreign Ministry recently invited a delegation of the Taliban to Moscow for talks, despite the fact that the radical Islamists are officially considered a terrorist organization in Russia. But that could change. But until then, Russia is flexing its muscles in Tajikistan, on the border with Afghanistan – shoulder to shoulder with its allies.

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