"The situation in Afghanistan continues deteriorating," Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on June 7 addressing a meeting of the defense ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member nations, held in Kazakhstan’s capital of Astana.   

“The US-led international coalition has failed to bring peace and tranquility to the country,” the Russian defense minister was quoted as saying by TASS news agency.

He pointed out that the units of the Islamic State terror group were active in Afghanistan.

“The activities of the ISIL terror group are not confined to Syria and Iraq, their units are now also active in Afghanistan, an SCO observer state,” said Shoigu.  “The rise of ISIL militants in Afghanistan causes particular concern, since their number has reached 3,500, while the terror group’s strategy, aimed at creating a caliphate, poses a threat not only to Afghanistan’s security but also to the security of its neighboring countries."

Russia is reinforcing its military bases in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan with state-of-the-art weapons to stonewall shifting terrorist activity from Afghanistan to Central Asia, the Russian defense minister went on.

“Russia’s Defense Ministry is taking measures to obstruct a shift of terrorist activity from Afghanistan to the Central Asian region.  To this aim, we are increasing combat readiness of Russian military bases in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, equipping them with modern weapons and military equipment,” Shoigu told a meeting of the SCO Council of Defense Ministers in Kazakhstan.

In March this year, anti-terrorist command and staff drills were held in Tajikistan involving the republic’s forces, Shoigu said.  “In September, similar exercises involving national military contingents of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) member-states are due to be held,” he said.

Shoigu also noted that the joint Dushanbe-Anti-Terror 2017 drills were also conducted.  “In close proximity to the Tajik-Afghan border the troops trained to carry out fire attacks and destroy armed groups, conduct air intelligence and step up protection of crucial facilities,” he said.

The exercise had been coordinated by the CIS Anti-Terrorism Center.  Russia was represented by about 2,000 servicemen with more than 300 pieces of military hardware, including 30 planes and helicopters.

The Russian military base deployed in Tajikistan is Russia's largest non-naval military facility outside the country.  It was officially opened in Tajikistan in 2004 under a previous agreement, which was signed in 1993, and hosts Russia’s largest military contingent deployed abroad.

A total of some 7,000 Russian troops are now stationed at two military facilities collectively known as the 201st military base - in Dushanbe and Qurghon Teppa, some 100 kilometers from Dushanbe.