Russia is ready to supply about $1.2 billion worth of weapons and military equipment to the Central Asian nation of Tajikistan, which is currently threatened by invasion from the Islamic State, a leading Russian business daily reported.
The Kommersant Daily newspaper quoted unnamed sources in the Russian General Staff as saying the amount of planned military aid to Tajikistan could reach 70 billion rubles (over $1.2 billion at current rate) within the next few years.
The arms and equipment would include personal weapons and ammunition, communication systems, aircraft, artillery systems and missiles. Most of the aid will be second hand hardware currently on the Russian forces’ balance, the sources said.
The aid will be rendered within a major program of joint modernization of Tajikistan’s military signed between Moscow and Dushanbe in 2014. The major objective is to strengthen the border between Tajikistan and Afghanistan. The task has become especially vital after the Coalition Forces’ withdrawal from Afghanistan and the growing threat from the so-called Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL).
In early March, Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov told reporters Russian intelligence had information about increased activity of IS cells near the southern borders of the Russian Federation, and in particular near the Afghanistan-Tajikistan border. To counter the threat, Russia has beefed up its military bases in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, the official added.