Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan hold drills near Afghan border

TEHRAN, Aug. 10 (MNA) – Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan militaries held military drills which concluded on Tuesday just 20 km (12 miles) from the Tajikistan-Afghanistan border.

As it was announced last month on July 19, Moscow and the two Central Asian allies held their second military exercises close to Afghanistan this month as Taliban militants overran much of the country's northern provinces directly adjacent to Central Asia, Reuters said in a report on Tuesday.

Tajik Defence Minister Sherali Mirzo told reporters at the training grounds the drills were being held with Afghanistan in mind.

"The situation in Afghanistan is unpredictable," he said.

Shukhrat Khalmukhamedov, chief of the general staff of the Uzbek armed forces, said that "this situation requires us to remain vigilant and to maintain our combat readiness".

The drills involved 2,500 servicemen, hundreds of armoured vehicles and 25 aircrafts. The Russian forces involved came from the military base located in Tajikistan - Moscow's biggest facility abroad.

Russian Central military district commander Alexander Lapin said the showcased weaponry would remain at the Tajik base.

KI/PR

News Code 177213

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