MOSCOW, August 5. /TASS/. About 2,500 troops from Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan have kicked off large-scale joint drills at the Kharb-Maidon practice range, located 20 km from the border with Afghanistan, that will run through August 10, the press office of Russia’s Central Military District reported on Thursday.
"We are opening joint drills with the units of the armed forces of the Russian Federation and the Republics of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. In the contemporary world, military threats are mounting and the situation is becoming increasingly tense and unpredictable," the press office quoted Central Military District Deputy Commander Lieutenant-General Yevgeny Poplavsky as saying.
"The joint drills will enable us to check the accumulated combat experience, test optimal forms of troop employment and work out common approaches to warfare," the general said.
Tajikistan’s Deputy Defense Minister Major General Abdukhoshim Gulomzoda spoke on behalf of the Tajik armed forces at the ceremony of opening the drills while Uzbekistan’s Deputy Chief of the General Staff Colonel Farrukh Ziyabayev delivered a welcome speech on behalf of the Uzbek army.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu earlier said at a conference of the defense ministers from the member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Dushanbe that the three countries would practice eliminating outlawed armed gangs, conducting reconnaissance and protecting facilities during the drills.
Overall, the drills will involve 2,500 troops, including 1,800 personnel from Russia, and also about 500 items of armament and military hardware. The Russian military contingent in the drills will mostly comprise units of Russia’s 201st military base in Tajikistan.
During the main phase of the drills, new targets will be used to simulate tanks, improvised drones, armored and infantry fighting vehicles, explosive-laden cars, life-size suicide bomber figures and permanent entrenchments in mountains.
Assault and army aviation aircraft will fight area targets simulating camps of the notional enemy’s gunmen, hideouts, armored convoys on the march, manpower and hardware amassments. Overall, about 1,000 targets have been set up for the drills, the press office specified.