Russia urges peace as Tajikistan, Afghanistan amass troops on border thumbnail

Russia urges peace as Tajikistan, Afghanistan amass troops on border

Russia called for calm between Tajikistan and Afghanistan on Thursday after reports emerged about tension on their common border.

Tass news agency quoted a spokesman of the Russian foreign ministry as saying that both Kabul and Dushanbe and Kabul should resolve any dispute in a mutually acceptable manner.

Russian foreign ministry spokesman also said that there were reports that Tajikistan and Afghanistan were amassing troops on their common borders.

“We observe with concern the growing tensions in Tajik-Afghan relations amid mutually strong statements by the leadership of the two countries,” TASS quoted ministry spokesman Alexei Zaitsev as saying.

Taliban, he said, were claiming that they had sent “tens of thousands” of their special forces fighters in Takhar province along the Tajikistan border.

Tajikistan’s foreign ministry and Taliban spokesmen were not available for comment.

Tajik President Emomali Rakhmon refused to recognise the Taliban regime in Kabul and lashed out at what he described as violations of human rights during the Taliban siege of the Panjshir valley.

In turn, the Taliban warned Dushanbe against interfering in Afghanistan’s internal affairs.

Demographic data show that Tajiks constitute more than a quarter of Afghanistan’s population, but Taliban are mostly Pashtuns.

Tajikistan, which hosts a Russian military base, held military parades in two border provinces on Wednesday and Thursday.

On Wednesday, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin expressed concern over the detention of US-trained Afghan pilots and other personnel in Tajikistan.

Just as the Taliban were preparing to enter Kabul a month ago, personnel of the US-backed Afghan Air Force flew dozens of military aircraft across the Afghan border to Tajikistan and Uzbekistan where they were detained.

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