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DUSHANBE, May 18. /TASS/. Collective Rapid Reaction Force (CRRF) of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) have completed the first stage of anti-terrorism drills after arriving in the area of Tajik-Afghan border, Tajikistan’s Defense Ministry Faridun Makhmadaliev told journalists on Monday.
"The drills covered the considerable part of the ‘Panj frontier’ - from Shaartuz, in the vicinity of which one of the largest military training grounds Kharbmaidan is located, to Tajik Badashkhan," Makhmadaliev noted. The total length of the Tajik-Afghan border is 1,344 kilometers, with the Panj river forming much of the border between the two countries. "We have already defined the defense line which will be used in case of an attack and where a threat may come from," the spokesman added.
"The results of the snap check of Rapid Reaction Force with the participation of up to 2,500 servicemen, aviation and heavy armored vehicles, which started on May 12, the coordination in the area of drills will be considered by the maneuvers’ commanders on May 19 on the military training ground," Makhmadaliev said. "The aim of the drills was put unambiguously clear - countering the possible invasion of terrorist groups from Afghanistan," he added.
The drills of Rapid Reaction Force units are taking place against the backdrop of rapidly deteriorating situation in Afghanistan, in close proximity to the border with Tajikistan, where Afghan government forces continue to fight Taliban militants. According to Tajik special services, Taliban already controls most part of Afghanistan’s Badakhshan Province, and in some places has come close to the "Panj frontier."
CSTO Secretary General Nikolay Bordyuzha told a press conference in Dushanbe that "CRRF can reach the region of the Tajik-Afghan border in 24 hours and ensure security of southern frontiers of the CIS [Commonwealth of Independent States]."
Contingents from Russia, Tajikistan, Belarus, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan are taking part in the CSTO CRRF drills.