Russia warns spill over of militants from Afghanistan to Central Asian Republics
ASTANA: At a meeting in Kazakhstan, Putin and the leaders of ex-Soviet states agreed to create a joint task force to defend the regional borders in the event of a crisis. The deal could pave the way for the deployment of Russian and other troops along unstable Tajikistan 1300-kilometre (808-mile) frontier with Afghanistan. The situation there (in Afghanistan) is genuinely close to critical,Putin told the summit of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Terrorists of different stripes are gaining more influence and do not hide their plans for further expansion,he said in Burabay, a popular tourist destination around 250 kilometres north of the capital Astana. One of their aims is to break into the Central Asian region,Putin said of the radical groups. It is important for us to be ready to react in concert to this scenario. Russia has military bases in the ex-Soviet nations of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan and with local militaries in the region look to Moscow to shore up the region's vulnerable southern frontier with Afghanistan. Instability in Afghanistan's north, highlighted by the Taliban's brief capture of the strategic city of Kunduz last month, has spurred talks that Russian troops could step in to secure the border. Putin praised the more than two-week-old air campaign, saying that Russia's strikes had destroyed dozens of command posts, munitions depots, hundreds of terrorists and a large amount of military hardware. He added that according to various estimates there were between 5,000 to 7,000 people from Russia and the former Soviet countries of the CIS fighting with IS.