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Russia will transfer $70 billion to Tajikistan ~ Dushanbe will receive funds to strengthen the borders of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO)

By Elena Chernenko, Dushanbe; Ivan Safronov

Militants from the terrorist group “Islamic State” (DAESH-ISIS) are already trying to sneak into Tajikistan and could destabilize the entire Central Asia.  On April 2, the Foreign Ministers of member states of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) discussed how to counter this threat at a meeting in Dushanbe. According to “Kommersant”, Russia is ready to allocate to Tajikistan the military-technical assistance in the amount of 70 billion rubles.

Opening the meeting with the foreign ministers of member-states of the CSTO, the President of Tajikistan, Emomali Rahmon, presiding over the bloc, has recognized that “terrorism, extremism and drug trafficking are developing rapidly in the area of responsibility of the CSTO, which has a devastating impact on the situation in the region.” The military-political bloc of the post-Soviet space, curated by Moscow, in addition to Russian Federation includes Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. The situation in Central Asia can really escalate at any moment – and Tajikistan is in the most vulnerable position.


According to the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Sergey Lavrov, “Dushanbe is faced with increasing threats from the South, in connection with the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan, where in addition to traditionally present extremist groups (including the “Islamic movement of Uzbekistan”, the “Islamic movement of Turkestan” and Al Qaeda) there is already an “Islamic State”.

Militants from ISIS who seized parts of Syria and Iraq and are actively recruiting supporters in Afghanistan, are already making inroads into Tajikistan. The long Tajik-Afghan border (about 1350 km) is not well controlled and has previously caused concerns: on the Afghan side some of the adjacent territory is fully controlled by the Taliban. Now the most radical members of Taliban are joining ISIS, endangering the whole of Central Asia and Russia.

In 2013, the CSTO member states agreed to provide technical assistance to Tajik border guards, guarding the border with Afghanistan (see “Kommersant” on September 23, 2013). However, yesterday the Foreign Minister of Tajikistan, Sirodjidin Aslov lamented that “the current situation in this matter is not satisfactory and more practical measures are needed”, that is, the supply of weapons and special vehicles, as well as assistance in strengthening border checkpoints. Until 2005 this boundary was protected by Russian border guards, then the border security was fully transferred to the jurisdiction of Dushanbe. Russia, according to diplomatic sources of “Kommersant”, is ready to return its troops to the border, but this requires the request of the Tajik authorities, which has not yet happened.

In the case of a sharp aggravation – again, if requested by the Tajik authorities – soldiers of the 201st Russian military base could be involved (the garrisons are located in Dushanbe, Kurgan-Tyube and Kulyabe), as well as the Collective Rapid Response Forces of the CSTO. According to the CSTO Secretary General, Nikolay Bordyuzha, the divisions of the bloc will require not more than three days for full-scale deployment of its forces in the conflict area.


Tajik authorities hope that there will be no need for direct military intervention, and hope that Russia will help them strengthen their own army. That Moscow intends to finance the modernization of the armed forces of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, “Kommersant” first reported on November 6, 2012. The sources of “Kommersant” in the government of Russia then explained that by helping to strengthen the defense capability of the countries of Central Asia, Russia is taking care of its own security in connection with the withdrawal of NATO coalition troops from Afghanistan, and also prevents the US from setting a foothold in the region.

Bishkek receives weapons and equipment (helicopters, MLRS, armored vehicles and small arms) in the amount of about 40 billion rubles within the framework of this project.

A program of joint modernization of the armed forces of Tajikistan, Moscow and Dushanbe was signed in the summer of 2014, but until now the volume of allocated funds was not known. As “Kommersant” had learned, Russia is ready to provide Tajikistan with military-technical assistance worth about 70 billion rubles in the coming years (about $1.23 billion at current exchange rate). This information was confirmed by sources in the General Staff of the Russian Federation.

Weapons (from communications, small arms and ammunition to aviation, artillery and anti-aircraft missile launchers) will be mainly supplied from the inventory on the balance of the Russian army. The product range has been agreed, but deliveries have not yet begun. However, Sergey Lavrov, following the results of yesterday’s talks said: “We reaffirmed our commitment in fulfilling obligations to Tajikistan in strengthening its defenses both bilaterally and in the framework of the decisions of the CSTO”.

Translated on Fortruss by Kristina Rus


Kristina Rus:
The Tajik society is currently actively discussing the perspectives of joining the Eurasian Economic Union. The neighboring Kyrgyzstan has already joined along with Armenia. Tajikistan’s geographic location, lack of other alternatives, economic benefits from integration, such as cheaper energy and eased flow of goods and labor, and the biggest security threat in recent history from the Southern border with Afghanistan will have a significant impact on the final decision, which we will probably learn about in the near future (Tajikistan gets preferential terms if joining within 3 years). 


R E L A T E D :

CSTO joint staff conducts exercises countering ISIS


Radio of Armenia, 23 March 2015

The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) Joint Staff conducted exercises simulating counteraction to the Islamic State militant group, the CSTO said in a statement Monday, Sputnik reports.

The CSTO is a military alliance comprising Russia, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

The exercise included the simulation of ISIS militant activities in non-existent CSTO member states.

In particular, participants focused on providing military, financial and technical help to countries in which militant groups, such as Islamic State, show rapid advancement. The participating military also proposed measures to ensure border security in member states in case of radical group advancement.


R E L A T E D :

The ‘Turkish Airline’ Is Transporting Takfiris Tajiks Terrorists to Syria and Iraq: the Saudi embassy in Dushanbe acts as the headquarter for recruiting mercenaries in Tajikistan

(SFP 16/7/2014) ~ The ‘Turkish Airlines’ has transferred large groups of Takfiri terrorists from different countries into Syria and Iraq, including nearly a hundred Takfiri Tajiks to Iraq lately, sources revealed on Tuesday.


The airliner transported 91 Takfiri Tajiks from Dushanbe to Istanbul at 21:10 on July 2 onboard flight 254,” a source, who asked to remain unnamed for fear of his life, told FNA, and added, “The militants were later transferred to Iraq to join their ISIL co-fighters.”

According to the source, the Saudi embassy in Dushanbe acts as the headquarter for recruiting, organizing and leading the terrorists in Tajikistan to send them to Syria and Iraq.

“Abu Tariq, the first secretary of the Saudi embassy, is in charge of payments and costs of the militants’ transportation fees,” he added.

The source also mentioned that “Turkish Air has transferred about 1,000 Takfiri Tajik fighters to Iraq so far”.

In relevant remarks in October, Tajikistan’s presidential spokesman confirmed reports of Tajik citizens fighting in Syria.

Abdufattokh Sharipov said that Tajik nationals fighting in Syria could present a danger to Tajikistan’s own security if they returned home.

Sharipov added that Tajik authorities would ask Damascus to provide Dushanbe with more details about Tajik nationals fighting on Syrian territory.

Syria’s grand mufti, Ahmad Badr Al-Din Hassoun, said in Moscow on October 27 that he believed around 100,000 foreigners – including from the United States, China, and European Union states – were fighting on the side of opposition forces in Syria’s civil war.

Hassoun said that 190 Tajik nationals, as well as hundreds of fighters from other former Soviet republics – namely Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and the Russian republic of Chechnya – were among the fighters.


Translated by Kristina Rus
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