Russia is ready to defend its ally Tajikistan in the event of any incursion from neighboring Afghanistan, a senior diplomat was quoted on Friday as saying, amid Russian media reports of a militant Tajik group preparing for a cross-border attack.
Tajiks are the second largest ethnic group in Afghanistan and make up the majority of the population in some northern regions close to the border with Tajikistan, a former Soviet republic.
According to Russian media reports, the predominantly ethnic Pashtun Taliban have allied with a particular Tajik terrorist group that may be planning infiltration into Tajikistan.
“If necessary all necessary assistance will be provided to Tajikistan within the framework of the (Moscow-led) Collective Security Treaty Organization and bilaterally,” Interfax news agency quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Rudenko as saying.
Rudenko said, “There are indeed reports that the Taliban cannot control the situation (in northern Afghanistan). Still, we hope that they will honor their promises (about not attacking neighbours) “
Reuters has been unable to confirm Russian media reports related to the Tajik terrorist group.
Tajik President Emomali Rakhmon has previously accused the Taliban of human rights violations during the siege of Panjshir province, where Afghan opposition forces have held rallies.
The Taliban, which seized power in August amid the chaotic departure of US-led foreign forces from Afghanistan, has warned Dushanbe against meddling in his country’s affairs.
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)