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Training showed need for joint measures for security
By Negmatullo Mirsaidov
SUGHD OBLAST – Counter-terrorism troops the from the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) learned how to coordinate anti-terror operations during a June 7-14 joint training exercise, Peace Mission 2012.
Russia, Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan participated in the drill in Sughd Oblast, Tajikistan, 30km from Khudzhand. Its main purpose was “to teach co-operation of international military forces in preventing a real terrorist threat,” Tajik Defence Ministry spokesman Faridun Mahmadulloyev said.
“Each participating country was represented by one counter-terrorist battalion with all of its military equipment at its disposal,” he said. “The Tajik contingent was also represented by an Interior Ministry special forces unit. The final stage of the exercise was preceded by … training in tactics and strategies for each member state in fighting terrorism and counter-terrorism.”
Observers included SCO defence ministers and commanders, military attachés from embassies in Dushanbe, and Sughd Oblast political leaders. Tajik President Emomali Rakhmon also visited to observe the exercise.
Co-operation breaks language barrier
Military observers noted the high level of co-operation among the forces.
“Despite the language barrier, the military forces from the former Soviet Union and their counterparts from the Chinese People's Liberation Army have worked very well together,” Afghan military attaché Abdulholiq Chira told Central Asia Online.
The exercises enabled the countries to share experience in fighting terrorism and other trans-national threats, Kazakhstani military attaché Serik Zhumadilov said.
“With the situation as it is in the North Caucasus and Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Russia have extensive experience in fighting terrorism,” he said. “Also, Tajikistan is located at the very beginning of the (Northern) drug-trafficking route. We are not immune to these new threats. In the past two decades, they have become trans-national in nature. ... We need to work together to prevent these threats.”
SCO defence ministers and commanders expressed their satisfaction with the outcome of the exercises.
“Our co-operation ... meets all our requirements for preventing threats and challenges,” said Chinese People’s Liberation Army Deputy Chief of General Staff Ma Xiaotian. “We will continue to reinforce our co-operation within the SCO.”
“During these military exercises, five units of the SCO member states demonstrated excellent teamwork and military proficiency,” Kyrgyz Defence Minister Kalaybek Umuraliyev said. “Today we proved that we are able to fend off any threats to our countries.”
“Even though Tajikistan and Russia have to deal with an increasing number of new threats, it is possible that any other country may experience such problems as well,” Russian Deputy Defence Minister Dmitry Bulgakov said. “Therefore, it is just as important for all member states to be ready to fight terrorism.”
To strengthen peace and national security, the SCO members should step up military co-operation, Tajik Defence Minister Sherali Khairulloyev said.
“Sughd Oblast is a junction on the Silk Road,” he said. “Today this road is facing a great threat. The threat of terrorism and drug trafficking imperils the stability of the region, and we need to wipe out ... new threats to ensure the peaceful development of our countries.”