MOSCOW - Russia has increased arms and military hardware supplies to Uzbekistan and Tajikistan amid fighting in Afghanistan, Interfax news agency quoted Russian military chief of staff Valery Gerasimov as saying on Thursday.
Gerasimov, who was in Tashkent to attend joint Uzbek-Russian military drills near the Afghan border, provided no details such as what arms were being supplied.
Russia is also carrying out drills in Tajikistan, another former Soviet republic bordering Afghanistan, this week. For the Uzbek exercise, Moscow said on Thursday it would even deploy four strategic bombers.
The security situation in Afghanistan has rapidly deteriorated since U.S.-led forces began a withdrawal due to be completed by September, prompting a Taliban insurgent offensive that has made significant territorial gains.
(Reporting by Olzhas Auyezov Editing by Mark Heinrich) ((email@example.com; +7 727 2508 500; Reuters Messaging: firstname.lastname@example.org))