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Russia, Tajikistan Agree to Military Base Deal

DUSHANBE, Tajikistan -- Russia and Tajikistan have agreed to extend the presence of Russian troops in the ex-Soviet nation on Afghanistan's northern border until 2042.

An aide accompanying Russian President Vladimir Putin on a visit Friday to the Tajik capital, Dushanbe, said Moscow would be assured use of the facility "virtually free of charge."

Central Asian nations are apprehensive at the prospect of the NATO coalition's withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2014 and have expressed fears that violence could spill over.

Some 7,000 Russian soldiers are posted across three garrisons in the country.

The current lease is due to expire in October 2014.

The agreement to extend the lease had been in question until the eve of the signing amid reported disagreements about the financial terms.

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