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Russia to boost military ties with Tajikistan

Tajik President Emomali Rakhmon.
by Staff Writers
Dushanbe (AFP) Aug 29, 2008
Russia and ex-Soviet Tajikistan are to boost military ties, the two countries said in a statement Friday after talks between President Dmitry Medvedev and Tajik counterpart Emomali Rakhmon.

"Russia and Tajikistan intend to strengthen military cooperation in future in order to guarantee national and regional security," said the joint statement, released after the talks in the Tajik capital Dushanbe.

Russia also undertook to build infrastructure, including a military airport in Gissar in western Tajikistan, the statement said. Russia has around 7,000 troops in the central Asian nation -- its biggest permanent army presence abroad.

The visit came amid tensions between Russia and the West over a conflict in Georgia this month and Medvedev's move this week to recognise the independence of the Georgian separatist provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Russia sought support for its stance from China and four Central Asian countries at a summit on Thursday in Dushanbe of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), a regional security group dominated by Moscow and Beijing.

SCO member states said they supported "the active role of Russia in assisting peace and cooperation in the region," but did not go as far as joining in Moscow in recognising the independence of the two rebel regions.

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Policemen targeted as 10 killed in Pakistan attack
Bannu, Pakistan (AFP) Aug 28, 2008
A bomb attack targeting policemen killed 10 people in northwest Pakistan on Thursday as Taliban-inspired violence threatened to exacerbate political instability in the nuclear-armed nation.

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