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Russia gaining firmer foothold in Central Asia, defense chief says

August 18, 12:57 UTC+3

The Central Asian strategic direction, which is in the Central Military District's area of responsibility, is one of the most important nowadays

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MOSCOW, August 18. /TASS/. Russia is gaining a firmer foothold in Central Asia where the situation continues to be unstable because of the armed conflict in Afghanistan, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said at the ministry’s board meeting on Friday.

He noted that the Central Asian strategic direction, which is in the Central Military District's area of responsibility, is one of the most important today. "The situation in Central Asia remains unstable. The armed conflict in Afghanistan between government forces and the Taliban and ISIL (IS, former name of Islamic State terrorist organization, both groups outlawed in Russia - TASS) continues," Shoigu noted.

"The military district’s command pays special attention to joint practical steps with the armed forces of the Central Asian countries, which contributes to the consolidation of Russia’s positions in that region," the minister stressed.

He 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 with accordance with the general plan and in a single combat situation," Shoigu said.

He added that joint operative and combat training with the armed forces of Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan is scheduled for the second half of this year.

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