CSTO Rapid-Reaction Forces End Exercises In Tajikistan
April 27, 2010
KHUJAND, Tajikistan -- Rapid-reaction forces of a regional security grouping have concluded military exercises in northern Tajikistan intended to combat insurgents, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.
The Collective Security Treaty Organization's (CSTO) war games, called Boundary 2010, involved some 1,000 soldiers and military officers fighting an imagined group of 100 armed militants based in a remote village.
Colonel General Sherali Khayrulloev, Tajikistan's defense minister, told RFE/RL that only "terrorists from Afghan territory" are considered a threat by Tajikistan.
Tajik affairs expert Nematullo Mirsaid said such exercises are used by Russia to underline its military presence in the region and Moscow's keen interests in Central Asia.
Mirsaid agreed with Khayrulloev that the only terrorist threat to the region comes from Afghanistan.
Abduvosit Salimzoda, a Tajik analyst, noted the absence of Uzbekistan and Belarus from the military exercises.
Salimzoda said the maneuvers are useless because in 10 years CSTO forces have only done occasional training, but have not had any real combat experience.
But Russian General Anatoly Logovitsin, the first deputy chief of staff of CSTO rapid-reaction forces, said the exercises show that CSTO forces are prepared for various threats.
The CSTO groups Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Russia, Belarus, and Armenia.
Belarus and Uzbekistan disagreed with the creation of the CSTO's rapid-reaction force and do not participate in its plans or military exercises.
Copyright (c) 2010. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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