BEIRUT, LEBANON (12:05 P.M.) – Armored and attack helicopter units of the Russian Armed Forces have begun deploying towards the Afghan-Tajikistan border over the last several days in a move that will see the Moscow expand its military presence in Central Asia.
According to official Russian sources, the Russian military has begun sending heavy equipment to Tajikistan in order to bolster the hard-pressed anti-terrorism efforts of the country’s border security forces.
Among the array of Russian military assets being re-located to Tajikistan are T-72 main battle tanks, BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicles, BTR-80 armored personnel carriers, Mi-24 attack helicopters and D-30 howitzers.
Tajikistan is a active member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, a Russian-led Central Asian military cooperation initiative.
The re-stationing of offensive forces by the Russian army in Tajikistan comes amid repeatedly expressed concerns by Moscow through official military-diplomatic channels that defeated terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq (such as the Islamic State) are most likely trying to expand their bases of operations in Central Asian countries, namely Afghanistan.
Even since the end of the Cold War, Russia has maintained a large division-sized base (the 201st Military Base) in Tajikistan which houses over seven thousand motorized rifle troops and their required fire support assets.