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Military


Turkestan Military District

The system of sixteen military districts had evolved in response to the Soviet Union's perception of threats to its security. For example, in 1969 the Turkestan Military District was divided to create the Central Asian Military District and enable the Soviet Union to double its military forces and infrastructure along the border with China.

In early 1992, when international interest in a joint CIS force waned, the Ministry for Defense Affairs of Uzbekistan took over the Tashkent headquarters of the former Soviet Turkestan Military District. The ministry also assumed jurisdiction over the approximately 60,000 Soviet military troops in Uzbekistan, with the exception of those remaining under the designation "strategic forces of the Joint CIS Command." With the subsequent abolition of the Turkestan Military District, Uzbekistan established a Ministry of Defense, replacing the Ministry for Defense Affairs.

Before the dissolution of the Soviet Union at the end of 1991, Tajikistan had no army of its own. Administratively, the republic was part of the Soviet Union's Turkestan Military District, which was abolished in June 1992. By the end of the Soviet era, the old military system, which commonly (although not exclusively) assigned draftees from Tajikistan to noncombat units in the Soviet army, had begun to break down.

One week after independence was declared in August 1991, Uzbekistan established a Ministry for Defense Affairs. The first minister of defense was charged with negotiating with the Soviet Union the future disposition of Soviet military units in Uzbekistan. In enforcing its independent status in military matters, a primary consideration was abolishing the Soviet Union's recruitment of Uzbekistani citizens for service in other parts of the union and abroad. For this purpose, a Department of Military Mobilization was established. In early 1992, when international interest in a joint CIS force waned, the Ministry for Defense Affairs of Uzbekistan took over the Tashkent headquarters of the former Soviet Turkestan Military District. The ministry also assumed jurisdiction over the approximately 60,000 Soviet military troops in Uzbekistan, with the exception of those remaining under the designation "strategic forces of the Joint CIS Command." In the same period, the Supreme Soviet approved laws establishing national defense procedures, conditions for military service, social and legal welfare of service personnel, and the legal status of CIS strategic forces.

A presidential decree in March 1992 declared the number of former Soviet troops in Uzbekistan to exceed strategic requirements and the financial resources of Uzbekistan. With the subsequent abolition of the Turkestan Military District, Uzbekistan established a Ministry of Defense, replacing the Ministry for Defense Affairs. The CIS Tashkent Agreement of May 15, 1992, distributed former Soviet troops and equipment among the former republics in which they were stationed. Among the units that Uzbekistan inherited by that agreement were a fighter-bomber regiment at Chirchiq, an engineer brigade, and an airborne brigade at Farghona.

For the first two years, the command structure of the new force was dominated by the Russians and other Slav officers who had been in command in 1992. In 1992 some 85 percent of officers and ten of fifteen generals were Slavs. In the first year, Karimov appointed Uzbeks to the positions of assistant minister of defense and chief of staff, and a Russian veteran of the Afghan War to the position of commander of the Rapid Reaction Forces. Lieutenant General Rustam Akhmedov, an Uzbek, has been minister of defense since the establishment of the ministry. In 1993 Uzbekistan nationalized the three former Soviet military schools in Tashkent.



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