Russia deploys troops and tanks to Afghanistan border

Russia has deployed tanks and troops to the border with Afghanistan, where the Taliban continues the offensive.

Tank crews from the 201st military base in Tajikistan made a 200-kilometer march from the Lyaur training ground to the Kharb-Maydon training ground bordering Afghanistan, Interfax reports with reference to the press service of the Russian Central Military District.

Russian tank units will take part in joint exercises with Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, which are scheduled for August 5-10.

According to the Russian military command, the tanks crews worked out protection of troops in the rugged terrain, trained in repelling attacks of sabotage and reconnaissance groups and supported by "enemy" aircraft. After that, the crews began establishing fortified positions and shelters for combat vehicles.

The press service of the Russian Central Military District stated that the scenario of the exercises is to prepare “for combat as part of a joint group of troops to defeat detachments of illegal armed groups that invaded the territory of the friendly state," said Alexander Lapin, commander of the Central Military District.

In addition to the units of the 201st military base, chemical and biological defense troops and mobile electronic warfare units will be involved in the exercises, Kommersant reports. The deployment of tanks took place after peace talks between the Taliban and representatives of the Afghan government failed in Doha.

The two delegations were unable to agree on a short-term ceasefire during the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha and the release of prisoners.

The Taliban, who claim to control 85 percent of Afghanistan, are ramping up the pace of the offensive, a U.S. intelligence source told CNN.

According to him, the US military fears that the Taliban may block the supply channels to the Afghan government, after which the government’s control over the country will be lost almost completely.

After reaching the border with Tajikistan at the end of June and taking control of the most important checkpoints on the Panj River, by mid-June the Taliban approached the Pakistani border, capturing the Spin-Boldak border crossing.

On July 8, a Taliban delegation arrived in Moscow for talks with the Russian government, where,  Taliban representatives asked Russian diplomats to become advocates for the lifting of sanctions.

"We asked them for removal from the sanctions list (UN Security Council)," Suhail Shaheen, a representative of the Taliban’s political office in Doha, told RIA Novosti.

“At the same time, the Russian side reiterated that it would not accept restoration of the Islamic emirate in Afghanistan,” said Zamir Kabulov, special representative of the Russian President for Afghanistan.

"And they agreed: 'Yes, we certainly prefer the Islamic emirate, but we are ready to negotiate and talk with the broad Afghan representation, including representatives of the current Kabul administration,'" Kabulov said.

  Afghanistan, Taliban, Russia