Tajikistan’s Armed Forces with forces from Russia’s 201st military base, began a joint training exercise, on March 23. The Russian motor rifle units performed a motorized march to the areas of the Lyaur and Sambuli mountainous practice ranges. After gaining a foothold at dominant heights, the gunners assumed positional defense. As the notional militants’ main forces approached, the artillery troops delivered a sudden strike from 152mm Akatsiya self-propelled artillery guns at a distance of up to 15 km. “Under the drills’ scenario, the notional enemy advanced on foot and on pick-up trucks towards Russian military facilities with the aim of eliminating the combat security force and carrying out subversive operations at missile and artillery armament depots.
In order to eliminate the remaining militant forces, the motor rifle units switched to an attack on BTR-82A armored personnel carriers with the support of T-72 tanks, delivering massive fire and routing the enemy. The teams of Orlan-10 unmanned aerial vehicles exercised control of the troops’ maneuvers and operations and adjusted the fire. More than 1,000 Russian and Tajik military personnel and about 300 pieces of weapons, military and special hardware are involved in the joint practical action of units of 201st military bases of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation and units of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Tajikistan at the Liaur training ground.
The 201st military base in Tajikistan is Russia’s largest military facility outside its borders. The military base is stationed in the cities of Dushanbe and Bokhtar. The military base’s armament includes T-72 tanks, BTR-82A armored personnel carriers, Grad multiple launch rocket systems, Gvozdika and Akatsiya artillery systems. Structurally, the Russia’s Central Military District also includes some overseas facilities: the 201st military base in Tajikistan, the Kant integrated military base in Kyrgyzstan and units stationed on the territory of Kazakhstan. Under the agreement signed in October 2012, Russia’s military base in Tajikistan will remain until 2042.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Soviet Army’s 201st Motorized Rifle Division was placed under the command of the Soviet military’s successor, the Allied Forces of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). While remaining mostly neutral in the violent 1992–1997 Tajik Civil War, the 201st Motorized Rifle Division was tasked with protecting critical local infrastructure sites, including the Nurek Hydropower Plant (which generated the majority of the country’s hydroelectric output), the Iavan electromechanical combine, the Vakhsh nitrogen fertilizer plant and a number of military facilities, along with several highways in the mountain passes in Kuliab and Kurgan-Tiubinskii provinces.