This is how the people responded to the call of the President of the country, Emomali Rahmon, to defend the Tajik-Afghan border. However, these forces will clearly not be enough.
Over the past few days, Vladimir Putin has apparently been closely following the situation in Afghanistan and its neighbors. The head of state phoned the leaders of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan - Emomali Rahmon and Shavkat Mirziyoyev. The main topic of their conversations was the situation in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. Rahmon announced Dushanbe's decision to mobilize 20,000 reservists to strengthen the border with Afghanistan, which is just over 1,300 kilometers long. And asked for help.
According to the agency "Khovar", more than two thousand soldiers and officers of the Afghan army, fleeing the offensive of the militants of the Taliban movement (the organization is banned in Russia ), illegally crossed the border with neighboring Tajikistan. In Dushanbe, they are racking their brains about what to do with them.
Taliban on motorcycles
Fierce fighting between Afghan government forces and the Taliban has recently been reported mainly from Badakhshan and Kandahar. In June, the militants almost without a fight captured all the cities in the provinces of Kunduz and Wardak. About a third of the country's territory is now under the control of the Taliban.
Afghan professor Dawood Azami told the BBC that the morale of government forces is at a low level. The fact is that the quick withdrawal of US and NATO forces from Afghanistan had a demoralizing effect on the Afghan security forces. Due to the fact that the Taliban are simultaneously advancing on several fronts, government forces feel that they do not have the capacity and resources to defend their positions in several parts of the country. Especially in the absence of air support from the US military.
The Taliban emerged in the early 1990s, rallying Afghan mujahideen and Pashtuns, considered the largest ethnic group in the country. Support in the creation of the movement was provided by the American CIA and Pakistani intelligence. In 1996, the Taliban, led by Mullah Omar, came to power in Afghanistan, taking control of 90% of the country's territory, in 2001 they surrendered Kabul after the American invasion. It was caused by the refusal of the Taliban to extradite the members of the banned in Russia "Al-Qaeda", whom the Americans were looking for because of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
By the way, those who think that the Taliban are scattered detachments of insurgents who are linked only by ideology and an oath of allegiance to the leadership of the movement are mistaken. It was like that before. Now they have a vertical command structure, the Taliban have a centralized military leadership, unified logistics and even a system of training officers and technical specialists.
Attacks, mainly at night, on well-known objects with the use of night vision devices, the massive use of motorcyclist detachments - all these are signs of a completely modern army.
It is known that the Taliban are ardent opponents of drugs. During their reign, they introduced the practice of punishing those who kept opium and who sold it. People who used drugs were sentenced to prison or even to be shot. The Taliban declared to the population: “We will give you land, take it and use it. But if you plant the wrong seeds, we will bury you right in this land".
In 2020, the United States and the Taliban signed a peace agreement in Doha. It provides for the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan in 14 months, the exchange of prisoners and the beginning of a dialogue with the country's authorities. But this agreement has actually been thwarted today. The Americans do not have time to evacuate their advisers, military equipment and equipment. Now we are talking about at least mid-September. The Taliban are unhappy with such delays by the Americans and decided to "clean up" the areas adjacent to the Afghan-Tajik border. So the Afghan military ran towards Dushanbe.
Hope for the Russians again
The Minister of Defense of Tajikistan Sherali Mirzo, following the instructions of his president, urgently organized a gathering of 20 thousand reserve servicemen to further strengthen the Tajik-Afghan border. It is no secret - the number of all the armed forces of the republic today is 9 thousand people, plus the local National Guard - another 7.5 thousand soldiers. Although it is known that about 600 thousand people in the country are registered as reservists, but a quarter of them have delays "for health reasons" and some "taps". About the same number of Tajiks are constantly working abroad.
It turns out that the Russian 201st motorized rifle division, recently renamed the 201st military base, will again bear the main burden of the defense of Tajikistan. She is also responsible for the security of the Tajik-Afghan border.
In a conversation with a correspondent of Novye Izvestia military specialists explained that "storekeepers" cannot be used as any kind of serious support. But the reservists can free the available forces from performing current tasks - carrying out guard, patrol, internal service. Already today, the question arises related to the feeding and security of Afghan refugees. And judging by the situation, there are many thousands of them. The Kremlin has already assured Emomali Rahmon that Moscow will help ensure the security of the Tajik-Afghan border. Interestingly, Turkish Defense Minister Akar spoke in about the same spirit. Incidentally, he voiced guarantees not only to Tajikistan, but also to Kyrgyzstan.
According to Sergei Goncharov, president of the International Association of Veterans of the Alpha Anti-Terror Unit , the Afghan military is not capable of holding back the Taliban. Therefore, they run en masse on the territory of neighboring states, including Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
“This fact is a serious challenge for Russia. Our 201st military base, located on Tajik territory, is under threat. “She could be surrounded by the Taliban,” the veteran warned.
Goncharov predicts that the Taliban will soon seize power in Afghanistan. After that, militants of the "Islamic State" ( banned in the Russian Federation ), who suffered colossal losses in Syria, but retained their influence in the East, will come to the country.
Many independent experts in the West believe that the strengthening of the Taliban will provoke a massive exodus of Afghans to neighboring countries. Due to the fact that the states of Central Asia will not be able to cope with such an influx of refugees. Residents of Afghanistan will start arriving in Russia. This situation is dangerous because hidden terrorists may also be among the refugees. Sergei Goncharov noted that Moscow should already work out effective measures to prevent the development of such a scenario.
According to Yuri Solozobov, director of international projects at the Institute for National Strategy, the main idea of the Taliban is to push the opponents out of Afghanistan. They are not going to invade other countries. They understand that they will receive a tough rebuff if they go north.
“Russia and the Central Asian republics have enough forces and means to defend their security,” the expert said.
The press secretary of the Russian president Dmitry Peskov said that Moscow is concerned about the development of the situation in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of the coalition forces from there. At the same time, when asked whether a plan for the introduction of the Russian contingent into the area is being developed, Peskov answered negatively.
On a "short leash"
The well-informed newspaper The Wall Street Journal is confident that the Pentagon intends to keep Kabul on a "short leash." The White House will continue to support Afghanistan and monitor the activities of the Taliban and other extremist groups in the region.
About 1,000 employees of the American embassy remain in Kabul, which means that someone needs to ensure their safety. This is also why the United States is considering options for deploying military bases in neighboring countries - in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and, perhaps, in Kyrgyzstan.
“These states border directly on Afghanistan and can be very useful for Washington,” the newspaper writes. “However, contradictions with Russia and China are hampering the plans of the Biden administration. The process is likely to drag on. The Pentagon is weighing the pros and cons. "
US Special Representative for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad has already "probed" the soil by visiting Tashkent and Dushanbe recently. Officially, the parties discussed reconciliation in Afghanistan. But there was also talk about military bases”.
And this is understandable. Having gained support in Central Asia, the United States will regain its positions that were in the early years of the Afghan war, writes The Wall Street Journal. The Pentagon bases in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan were actively used by aviation. However, under pressure from Russia and China, American troops left Uzbekistan in 2005 and Kyrgyzstan a decade later.
Washington's plans unnerve Moscow. The bases in Central Asia will allow the United States to conduct reconnaissance of Russia's southern underbelly and influence the internal politics of its neighbors. In addition, both Tashkent and Dushanbe are important allies of Moscow in Central Asia, and Tajikistan is part of the CSTO. So far, Tajikistan has not applied to the Collective Security Council to discuss issues related to the deployment of foreign military bases on its territory.