Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Tuesday that the Taliban had taken control of Afghanistan’s borders with Tajikistan and Uzbekistan as the group continues to make significant territorial gains.
Russia has been worried that the fighting in Afghanistan will spill outside of the country’s borders, and the Taliban have been trying to ease those concerns. Shoigu said the Taliban had vowed not to launch attacks on neighboring countries.
Tajikistan, Russia, and four other former Soviet states are members of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). When a group of about 1,000 Afghan soldiers fled from fighting with the Taliban into Tajikistan, the country requested assistance from its CSTO allies. Russia responded by reinforcing a military base in Tajikistan near the Afghan border.
Moscow and its Central Asian allies have been on high alert over the fighting in Afghanistan. Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan wrapped up military exercises on Tuesday that simulated a response to threats coming from Afghanistan.
The Russian military said the drills took place “against the background of the destabilization of the situation in neighboring Afghanistan, in order to work out the issues of repelling possible threats and practical interaction to ensure security and maintain stability in the Central Asian region.”