Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan have completed joint military drills on the Kharb-Maidon range located 20 kilometers from the border with Afghanistan, Commander of Russia’s Central Military District Colonel General Alexander Lapin said, according to the Russian media.
According to him, "for the first time, the joint force grouping used aircraft, reconnaissance and combat systems and assault troops based on the experience gained in Syria." Lapin pointed out that the exercise had taken place amid rising tensions in Afghanistan and the threat of terrorist groups entering Central Asian countries. "I am sure that future joint activities will help us strengthen military cooperation and protect our countries from military aggression," he said.
Tajikistan’s Defense Minister Colonel General Sherali Mirzo, in turn, noted that the three countries had held counter-terrorism drills like that for the first time. Uzbekistan’s Chief of the General Staff Shukhrat Kholmukhamedov also noted that the situation in Afghanistan "requires us to remain vigilant and maintain our combat capabilities."
A total of 2,500 troops were involved in the drills, including 1,800 from Russia, as well as about 500 pieces of military hardware. The 201st Military Base provided the bulk of the Russian troops.