Russia Tajikistan Sign Agreement Allowing Base

MOSCOW (Reuters)–Russian President Boris Yeltsin and Tajik President Imomali Rakhmonov signed a cooperation agreement on Friday which provides for a Russian military base in Tajikistan.

Russia already has a force helping to guard Tajikistan’s border with Afghanistan and maintain peace in the Central Asian nation. Tajik Islamist rebels and Rakhmonov’s government ended a five-year civil war with a power-sharing deal in 1997.

Russian Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev announced that Russia would set up a base in Tajikistan during a visit to the capital Dushanbe earlier this month.

At the signing ceremony on Friday Rakhmonov said he hoped the base would let Tajikistan draw on Russia’s military experience to build a "full-blooded" military of its own.

He said the decision to set up the base was not aimed against the "interests or security of any third country."

Ruling strict Taleban militia in neighboring Afghanistan have spoken out against the decision to set up the Russian base.

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