On June 16, 2022, US Central Command Commander General Michael Kurilla met with President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon in Dushanbe, Tajikistan to discuss bilateral security cooperation between the two countries.
The meeting also took place with Defense Minister Col. Gen. Sherali Mirzo, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces Lt. Gen. Emomali Sobirzoda and Deputy Chairman of the State Committee for National Security Lt. Gen. Farhod Kamolzoda discuss joint efforts to support Tajikistan’s armed forces, strengthen borders, and address regional threats such as Afghanistan.
Corresponding US News & World ReportThe United States could allow Tajikistan to detain fleeing Afghan military planes donated by the US following the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan last August. As Afghan forces fled the country during the Taliban takeover, many Afghan pilots flew dozens of military planes to neighboring Tajikistan. However, the Taliban demanded that the aircraft be returned to Afghanistan.
In comments from the U.S. Embassy in Tajikistan, Gen. Kurilla said the United States is working with the Tajik government on how best to make use of aircraft overflown by the Afghan Air Force and hopes to hand over some or all to the Tajiks Government.
Last August, the Taliban took control of Afghanistan after the United States and its allies withdrew from the 20-year war that began after the September 11 attacks. Many Afghans fled the country, fearing that strict Islamic law would be re-imposed by the Taliban.
General Kurilla, in his comments, reiterated that the plane will not be returned to Afghanistan and that the US remains firm in its stance and partnership with Tajikistan on the matter. “We admire Tajikistan’s leadership in Central Asian security. Our enduring relationship with Tajikistan is historically strong,” General Kurilla said during the meeting with the Tajik leadership, reaffirming US support for Tajikistan’s border security, counter-terrorism and counter-narcotics operations.
It is important that the US maintain a strong partnership with Tajikistan to address new challenges as the country is seen as a key ally against the Taliban government in Afghanistan. Supporting the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Tajikistan is of great interest to the US General Kurilla, at the Dushanbe meeting, noted that the US has provided over $330 million in security sector assistance to Tajikistan and thanked them for their continued cooperation and cooperation. Allowing the Tajik government to keep the Afghan plane is a step in the right direction to maintaining a positive relationship with the nation and taking a firm stance against the Taliban.