Turkmenistan boosts Afghan border security

Turkmenistan takes measures to halt any spillover of violence from neighbouring state of Afghanistan

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

Soldiers raise the national flag during a military parade in Ashgabat marking Turkmenistan's Independence Day

Turkmenistan is taking serious measures to prevent any expansion of violence from its war-torn neighbour Afghanistan by sending border guards and other combat-ready forces to the 744 kilometer long border area.

According to local media Turkmenistan is sending up to 70 percent of the country’s combat-ready forces and equipment, together with border service tactical battalions from regions across the country.

Turkmenistan is focusing attention on its southern and southeastern Mary and Lebap border regions to defend against any attempts by militants from Afghanistan to cross into the country.

Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov  has signed a decree appointing new ministers to the cabinet which will implement security measures.

Begench Gundogdiyev has been appointed as garrison commander of the naval forces of Turkmenistan’s armed forces and was previously defence minister.

Secretary of the State Security Council Yaylim Berdiev was appointed as new defence minister and was previously National Security Minister.

Guychgeldi Hojaberdiev was appointed Turkmenistan’s minister of national security - the successor body to the Soviet-era KGB.

The appointments followed after battles in erupted in Afghanistan’s Faryab, Jowzjan, Badghis and Herat provinces which border Turkmenistan and have large concentrations of Taliban militants which do not pay heed to the borders between the two countries.

Turkmenistan, a mainly Muslim country which is officially neutral and has a population of 5 million, is energy-rich country but is suffering from militant activity.

Afghan forces took control of the war-torn northern city of Kunduz in early November, which was captured by the Taliban in late September. 

Immediately after Taliban militants captured Kunduz, the CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organization), of which Turkmenistan is not a member, expressed its concern over the security situation.

General Secretary of  theCSTO Nikolai Bordyuzha said that Tajikistan with the assitance of the CSTO has the military capacity to protect its borders.

He also stressed that both CSTO and Tajikistan have the power to suppress any attempts to destabilise the CSTO zone of responsibility along the Tajik-Afghan border.

Additionally, Afghan forces who were fighting the Taliban requested the US air strike that killed 22 people at a hospital run by aid group MSF (Doctors Without Borders) on Saturday in Kunduz.

After US air strikes were carried out in Kunduz the Taliban changed its strategy and tactics by firing at security forces at local checkpoints before disappearing into residential areas, Reuters reported.

With this change in strategy the Taliban aimed to seize the forces's weaponry and up to 300 vehicles and several million dollars in cash by stealing from local banks.

TRTWorld and agencies