Russia-Led CSTO To Hold Military Drills In Central Asia Due To Situation In Afghanistan.

The Russia-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) says it plans to hold military exercises in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan due to the ongoing situation in Afghanistan.

CSTO spokesman Vladimir Zainetdinov told the Interfax news agency on August 27 that several thousand troops will be involved in the planned Rubezh (Frontier) exercises in Kyrgyzstan, which will be conducted from September 7-9.

According to Zainetdinov, three more sets of military maneuvers will be held close to the Tajik-Afghan border in October, with a fourth scheduled for November.

CSTO members include Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Tajikistan.

Central Asians states bordering Afghanistan are concerned about security threats emanating from the war-torn country and the potential for tens of thousands of refugees to pour over the border.

The Taliban has sought to reassure neighboring countries and Russia that it poses no threat since gaining control over much of Afghanistan’s territory in recent weeks, including Kabul, the capital.

The group has pledged to rule differently than during its brutal regime of the 1990s that saw women confined to their homes, most entertainment banned, and punishments that included stonings and public executions.

But their promises are being treated with skepticism by many Afghans and governments around the world.

Zainetdinov’s statement comes as Russia and Tajikistan hold one-month joint military drills bear the Afghan border that started on August 17.

On August 10, Russia completed joint military exercises with Tajik and Uzbek troops near the border with Afghanistan, which followed smaller Russian-Uzbek maneuvers along Uzbek-Afghan border.

Russia, which has military bases in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, has vowed to defend Moscow's allies in Central Asia against any security threat from Afghanistan.

With reporting by Interfax

Radio Free Europe

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