Monday, September 19, 2011 -
Several Central Asian states on Monday kicked off military exercises sponsored by the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO).
The exercises will last until next week.
Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are all participating in the four-country drill, with military exercises also underway in Russia. Ministries of emergency situations from all participant countries are also involved in the drill.
The ‘Center 2011’ exercises – which will last until September 27 – will be overseen by Russia’s General Staff Chief Army General Nikolay Makarov.
The exercises involve 12,000 military servicemen, 50 aircraft, 100 tanks and ten warships, the RIA Novosti news agency reported on Monday.
The military drills are being held to coordinate military responses to terrorist groups, one of CSTO’s primary objectives as a military-security alliance.
The task at hand is to prepare CSTO’s Collective Rapid Reaction Force to prepare and conduct a special operation to eliminate illegal armed groups in the event of armed conflict in Central Asia, a source with the Tajik military told the Tajik news agency Pressa.tj.
The Center 2011 exercises are the largest to be held this year in the CSTO sphere, and will sum up on September 27 in Russia’s Chebarkul firing range, located in the Urals.