Russia-led bloc concludes drills near Afghan border to boost Tajik security

HARB-MAIDON TRAINING GROUND, (Tajikistan): A Russia-led military exercise held over six days near the Tajik-Afghan border, designed to demonstrate Moscow stands ready t. on Saturday.

Tajikistan’s relations with the Taliban leadership in Kabul have been strained from the start and reports of troop build-up on both sides of the border have alarmed Moscow, which operates a military base in the former Soviet republic.

The exercise, carried out by the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO), which also includes Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan, involved over 4,000 troops as well as tanks, artillery and assault aircraft.

“This is the first time an event of this scale is being held,” Tajik Defence Minister Sherali Mirzo told reporters at the site.