Russia’s Central Asian allies say won’t host Afghan refugees

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MOSCOW, Sept 16 (Reuters) – Members of a Russia-led security bloc that includes some countries adjacent or close to Afghanistan have no plans to host Afghan refugees amid the political and security crisis in the country, bloc member Kazakhstan said on Thursday.

The Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) includes three Central Asian nations – Tajikistan, which has a lengthy border with Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan – as well as several more remote former Soviet republics.

At a heads-of-state meeting of the bloc in Tajikistan on Thursday, Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev “supported the joint CSTO position that the placement of Afghan refugees or foreign military bases on our countries’ territories is unacceptable”, his office said in a statement.

Two more Central Asian nations, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, border Afghanistan but are not CSTO members. However, Uzbekistan has also said it would only allow short-term transit of refugees by planes to third countries.

Photo: A handout photo made available by Iranian Red Crescent shows Afghan refugees gather in Iran-Afghanistan border in Sistan-Blochestan province, south-eastern Iran. EPA-EFE/MOHAMMAD JAVADZADEH HANDOUT

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