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Russian defense minister warns situation in Afghanistan worsening

Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu and his Tajik counterpart Sherali Mirzo have discussed situation in the region

DUSHANBE, October 12. /TASS/. The situation in Afghanistan is rapidly changing for the worse, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said at Thursday’s meeting with Tajik Defense Minister Sherali Mirzo.

"Military and military technical cooperation between Russia and Tajikistan is successfully developing. We are holding a great number of joint drills aimed to reduce risks and improve stability in the region. Of course, with regard to you and to what is happening along Tajikistan’s borders. I mean chiefly Afghanistan and the threats that are coming from there due to a rather unstable situation that is rapidly changing. And it is changing for the worse," Shoigu said.

"Apart from this, the issue naturally concerns help, support and modernization of the Tajik Armed Forces. Here we’ve got a big program underway. I think we could discuss further stages for this program’s implementation today," the Russian minister noted.

He stressed that "there are issues related to work of the Russia military base" in Tajikistan. "Still, these are the current issues," Shoigu said. "I think we’ll discuss them and find adequate solutions. On all other issues, our cooperation in the military and military technical sphere is developing rather successfully." He expressed confidence that all the set plans and goals will be implemented, in particular a cooperation plan for 2018 will be signed between the Russian and Tajik defense ministries.

The Tajik foreign minister, for his part, thanked Russia and Shoigu for contribution to security provision in the Central Asian region.

he went on to say that Russia and Uzbekistan need to cooperate closely in the war on terror amid instability in Afghanistan.

"We are carrying out great work on enhancing military and military-technical cooperation. The growing threats due to the increasing instability in Afghanistan force us to cooperate more and more closely in the fight against international terrorism, and in ensuring security in this region," Shoigu said at the meeting with new Uzbekistan’s Defense Minister Abdusalom Azizov.

"I have high hopes that those programs that we already have and those that we are yet to fulfill, will continue and produce the result that we expect," Shoigu stressed.

Uzbekistan will do all that is possible for security along the CIS southern borders, Azizov said.

"We’ll do all that is possible in all areas to provide defensive capacity of the CIS southern borders," he said.

Azizov is confident that the stable situation in the region is supported by information exchange. The minister also noted stronger military cooperation with Russia. He noted officers and cadets from Uzbekistan renewed their studies in Russian educational institutions. These are 75 people yet, but this is just the beginning, Azizov noted.

The meeting between Shoigu and Azizov was held ahead of a meeting of the CIS Defense Ministers Council. The defense ministers, headed by Shoigu, also met with Tajik President Emomali Rahmon.