Russia will join two countries bordering Afghanistan next month to conduct a major military exercise near the Afghan border. A senior Russian officer has said this, according to the TASS news agency.
The manoeuvres of Russia, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, are from August 5 to 10. The latter two countries border northeast Afghanistan.
The exercises are held in Tajikistan. In Afghanistan, the extremist Taliban are making victories as foreign troops who helped defend the government in Kabul leave. The last American troops must have left on September 11 after 20 years of fighting the Americans against the Taliban.
For years, the Taliban, mainly of the Pashtun people from the east and south of the country, led a reign of terror almost all over the country and persecuted other ethnic groups. The Americans ousted the Taliban with their invasion in 2001.
About a quarter of Afghans are ethnic Tajiks, and nearly 10 percent of Afghans are Uzbek. Russia fears chaos in Afghanistan and a flood of refugees from that country if the Taliban recapture Kabul. The city is about 225 kilometres from the Tajik border.
Hundreds of Afghan military personnel and civilians have already fled to Tajikistan in recent weeks due to a Taliban offensive in the north of the country. But the government of Tajikistan said on Monday that those refugees have now crossed the border into their own country again.