Russia hopes to keep troops in Tajikistan

A top Russian general said yesterday that Moscow expects to secure a deal to extend Russia’s military presence in Tajikistan by the first half of 2013.

Russia’s ground forces commander Vladimir Chirkin said that the deal will continue to be discussed with Tajikistan until the end of March.

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Some 7,000 Russian soldiers are posted in Tajikistan, a major transit point on the northbound trafficking route for Afghan heroin.

Tajikistan and other ex-
Soviet neighbours of Afghanistan fear a spillover of violence in the event of a renewed outbreak of civil conflict after the Nato coalition’s withdrawal in 2014.