TASHKENT, August 24. /TASS/. Russia is raising the combat potential of its military bases in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan and other response forces amid the developments in Afghanistan, Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said at a meeting of the defense ministers of the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization) member states on Wednesday.
"On our part, we are raising the combat readiness of the Russian military bases in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, and also other forces of response to potential crisis situations," Shoigu said.
The situation in Afghanistan where international terrorist organizations, such as the ISIL (the former name of the Islamic State terror group outlawed in Russia) and Al-Qaeda (outlawed in Russia) are stepping up their activity "remains a serious challenge to security in Central Asia," the Russian defense chief pointed out.
"Amid the continued armed stand-off, the social and economic situation in the country is deteriorating, there is the process of imposing the ideology of religious radicalism and drug trafficking and cross-border crime are rampant," Shoigu said.
Moscow welcomes any international initiatives on the Afghan settlement and is taking measures to ensure security in the Central Asian region, he said.
In June, Moscow hosted the first meeting of the defense chiefs from Central Asian countries and Russia, which discussed the situation on Afghan track and the ways of stabilizing it, Shoigu recalled.
"We believe that such meetings will also be necessary on the SCO platform, in particular, to strengthen coordination between our defense, security and law-enforcement agencies, especially considering that Afghanistan is a SCO observer state," the Russian defense minister said.