About 2,500 troops from Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan have kicked off large-scale joint military drills at the Kharb-Maidon practice range, located 20 km from the border with Afghanistan, that will run through August 10. Russia’s Central Military District 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.
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. About 1,000 targets have been set up for the drills.
In the course of the drills, the Tupolev Tu-22M (NATO reporting name: Backfire) bombers will take off from the airfield in the Saratov Region, make a flight to the Termez training ground and practice delivering multiple bombing strikes against militants’ notionally camouflaged camps and ammo depots, the ministry specified. A pair of Mikoyan MiG-29 fighters of the Uzbek army’s air force and air defense troops will provide cover for the Russian bombers in the maneuvers
The exercises were prompted by the Taliban’s advances in northern Afghanistan in recent weeks, which triggered the flight of Afghan forces and civilians across the border into Tajikistan. At the same time, Russian diplomatic rhetoric balances between chiding the United States for its failure in Afghanistan and espousing support for a negotiated settlement. Russia designates both al-Qaida and the Taliban as terrorist groups, though it has hosted several Taliban delegations in recent years.