China will build a base for police in Tajikistan near the Afghan border, a Tajik official said Thursday, amid concerns from both countries about the Taliban’s ability to keep a lid on extremist groups.
The base points to deepening security cooperation between impoverished Tajikistan and China, which is reported to maintain another base in the southeast of the ex-Soviet country.
A parliamentary spokesman told AFP that Tajikistan’s lower house had approved the plan to build the base in the Ishkashim district of the mountainous Gorno-Badakhshan province.
“All construction is funded by the Chinese side.
After construction, the base will be transferred to the Tajik (police),” the spokesman, who did not provide his name, told AFP by telephone.
He said China was providing $8.5 million in assistance for the base. Asked about reports of the base, China’s foreign ministry told AFP that “we can assure that China does not have any military bases in Central Asia.”
China has looked to build friendly relations with the Taliban following their takeover of Afghanistan.
While other Central Asian nations have established working ties with the new regime in Afghanistan, Tajikistan has railed against the hardliners and eschewed direct talks.—Reuters