The Secretary of the Security Council of Tajikistan, Nasrullo Mahmoudzoda, has commented on a statement delivered by the Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation Nikolai Patrushev at a meeting of the Security Council Secretaries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Uzbekistan’s capital, Tashkent. 

“I want to tell Mr. Patrushev that we have strategic cooperation with the Russian Federation and this cooperation remains unchanged.  Nothing threatens Tajikistan-Russia strategic relations,” Mahmoudzoda told Radio Liberty’s Tajik Service, known locally as Radio Ozodi, in an interview on August 23.  

Speaking at the SCO Security Council Secretaries’ meeting in Tashkent, Patrushev expressed concern about the U.S. Central Command-sponsored REGIONAL COOPERATION 22 military exercise hosted by Tajikistan this year.   

Russian Security Council Secretary explained the United States’ interest in military exercises in Central Asia as an opportunity to explore a potential theater of war, clarify the coordinates of perspective targets, as well as edit digital maps for precision weapons.  

Patrushev drew attention to the fact that Washington still doesn't leave attempts to negotiate countries neighboring Afghanistan “creation of temporary infrastructure there for carrying out antiterrorist operations.”  

“It is in this vein that we consider the beginning of the REGIONAL COOPERATION 22 military exercise on August 10 under the command of the United States and with participation of military personnel from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Mongolia and Pakistan,” said Patrushev.  “I really hope that all member nations of the SCO now aware of the extremely high risks these American initiatives pose to our security.”  

Recall, the U.S. Central Command-sponsored REGIONAL COOPERATION 22 military exercise, involving participants from the United States, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, Pakistan, and Uzbekistan, was conducted in Dushanbe from August 10 to August 20.  Tajikistan and the United States also conducted a five-day bilateral field training component of the exercise at the Fakhrobod Training Center.  The exercise provided an opportunity to coordinate, synchronize, and react to events in a non-threatening environment.

Regional Cooperation is an annual exercise that focuses on enhancing multinational stability operations, counterterrorism, and promoting cooperation and joint combined capabilities among U.S. Central and South Asia states, and other participating nations.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the Regional Cooperation exercise series had been conducted annually since 2004 in one of the participant countries, including in the United States.