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BISHKEK, September 15. /TASS/. About 2,000 troops are taking part in the Peace Mission-2016 joint anti-terror drills of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member-countries, which got underway in Kyrgyzstan on Thursday, Ruslan Mukambetov, chief of the command and staff exercises, has said.
"The need to conduct such exercises is dictated by modern realities," he said. "They have repeatedly proven their relevance and significance amid the current international situation, both in the SCO area of responsibility and in the world at large." These exercises are held for the fourth time in the history of the SCO and for the first time in Kyrgyzstan.
"I am confident that together we will exert every effort to achieve the goals that have been set. In addition to its direct purpose - the fight against terrorism, extremism and separatism - they also promote closer military cooperation between our countries’ armed forces," Mukambetov noted. He added about 300 military equipment pieces, including 40 combat air force aircraft that are to provide air cover for the ground forces, are involved in the drills this year.
The Peace Mission-2016 exercises, which will last until September 21, are being held at the Edelweiss range located in the mountainous area of Kyrgyzstan’s Issyk-Kul region. Taking part in them are military units from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Russia and Tajikistan. "In their speeches, the commanders of the military contingents of the SCO member-countries’ armed forces thanked the Kyrgyz military for the warm welcome and hospitality pointing out unanimously that the Kyrgyz side has done a lot to organize and conduct the exercises. Now it is a matter of honor for every soldier and officer to hold them at the highest organizational and qualitative level, " the General Staff of Kyrgyzstan’s armed forces said in a statement on Thursday.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) comprises Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.