Russia Has No Intention of Sending Large Ground Forces to Central Asia

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In the event of an assault from Afghanistan, Russia will give limited military assistance to Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, including weapon supply, the deployment of airplanes, and special operations personnel.

There are no preparations to send large ground forces to the area. All of this is evident from Russia’s joint drills with Afghanistan’s surrounding nations and public declarations, according to Vedomosti, citing Russian Defense Ministry sources.

On August 5, joint drills involving Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan began in Tajikistan. Over 2,500 military personnel are taking part in the exercise, including 1,800 Russian soldiers, primarily from Russia’s 201st Military Base in Tajikistan, as well as special operations and electronic warfare elements from the Russian Central Military District.

According to a source close to Russia’s Defense Ministry, the presence of special operations units in the drills indicates that they will play a critical role if tensions increase. Along with remarks about the 201st Military Base, which has recently become a training center for Tajik military personnel, this makes it apparent that Russia has no intentions to deploy significant ground forces to the region, according to another source close to the ministry.

According to Viktor Murakhovsky, Chief Editor of the Arsenal Otechestva (or Arsenal of the Fatherland) magazine, the Russian military does not intend to commit large forces to the region even if the worst-case scenario occurs.

In such a case, an operation similar to the one in Syria may be carried out, involving airstrikes and special operations forces missions. And, as in Syria, this type of operation will entail the restricted employment of unguided weapons, which may be effective given the nature of potential confrontations, according to Murakhovsky.