Tajikistan, China to conduct military drills in Gorno-Badakhshan province

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DUSHANBE (TCA) — Armed forces of Tajikistan and China will conduct joint military exercises in Tajikistan’s Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region which borders Afghanistan, Orif Nozimien, head of the press office of Tajikistan’s Defense Ministry, told Avesta news agency on July 9.

He said the drill is scheduled for the end of July.

“It is the first full-fledged joint Tajik-Chinese military exercises,” Nozimien said, adding that Tajikistan will be represented by ground forces, air and anti-aircraft defense forces.

The Tajik Defense Ministry representative said the exercises will practice coordinated actions on the border and fighting terrorism.

It is yet unknown what military units will take part in the exercises from the Chinese side, Nozimien said.

It is not the first Tajik-Chinese military exercises in the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region — similar exercises were held in October 2016 with the participation of about 10 thousand Tajik and Chinese troops. The Chinese side was then represented by a company of the People’s Liberation Army of China. The drill involved artillery, armored vehicles, and military aircraft.

In that exercise, Tajik and Chinese military practiced elimination of terrorists infiltrating from Afghanistan to Tajikistan and on to China.

In recent years, China has increased its military presence in Tajikistan’s remote Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region in a move to protect its northwestern Xinjiang region from potential spillover of Islamic extremists from Afghanistan.

Sergey Kwan

TCA