Moscow is withdrawing its frontier troops, some 20,000, from the Tajik-Afghan border, Vyacheslav Trubnikov, Russia’s first deputy foreign minister, told the Russian Nezavisimaya Gazeta newspaper in an interview published on Wednesday, adding it would result in increased drug trafficking.
“We are pulling out of Tajikistan in general. The result will be a porous border. Porous means drugs,” he said.
The Russians troops in the country are leaving at the request of Tajikistan, although Rakhmonov said two weeks ago the handover was a Russian initiative.
Russian-led troops have helped to maintain stability in Tajikistan since a 1992-97 civil war.
They monitor over 90 percent of the remote 1,344-km Tajik border with Afghanistan, the world’s top opium producer.