Russia plans joint military exercises with Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan

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BISHKEK (TCA) — Russia plans to hold joint military exercises with the armed forces of Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan I the second half of this year in response to regional threats arising from the war in Afghanistan.

Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said at the Russian Defense Ministry’s board meeting in Moscow on August 18 that the conflict between Afghan government forces and the Taliban poses a threat to Central Asia’s stability.

Shoigu said that Russia is gaining a firmer foothold in Central Asia where the situation continues to be unstable because of the armed conflict in Afghanistan, Russia’s TASS news agency reported.

“The situation in Central Asia remains unstable. The armed conflict in Afghanistan between government forces and the Taliban and ISIL (Islamic State) continues,” the agency quoted Shoigu as saying.

The minister recalled that during a snap exercise in July, the Russian and Tajik military personnel honed their shooting and fire control skills with the use of the Uragan rocket launchers and the Iskander-M tactical missile systems.

“They practiced airstrikes against the enemy’s hypothetical targets. During the snap check, the troops confirmed their ability to carry out tasks in accordance with the general plan and in a single combat situation,” Shoigu said.

Russia has military bases in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, both member states of the Russia-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO).

Sergey Kwan

TCA