Publication: Monitor Volume: 5 Issue: 42

The Kyrgyz army battalion which had since 1993 served under Russian command in Tajikistan completed its transfer to the home country yesterday. The battalion had been deployed in the Ishkashim border sector opposite Afghanistan, in difficult mountainous terrain. The Kyrgyz government decided to relocate it to Kyrgyzstan’s own border with China. Protection of that border is now in the process of being transferred from Russian border troops to Kyrgyz troops. Kyrgyzstan does not strictly differentiate between army and border troops, and will deploy the former in the role of the latter (Itar-Tass, February 28 and March 1).

Last December, Uzbekistan withdrew its battalion from Tajikistan where it had served, like the Kyrgyz, as a token component of “CIS peacekeeping” forces. Those forces, hitherto overwhelmingly Russian, are now becoming exclusively Russian. Moscow is about to conclude an alliance treaty with Tajikistan, under which Russian forces will drop their CIS guise and will acquire old-fashioned basing rights, on a bilateral Russian-Tajik basis.

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