A joint military drill for peacekeeping forces of six member nations of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), dubbed Unbreakable Brotherhood 2019, is being conducted in Tajikistan from October 21 to October 29, Russia’s RIA Novosti reports, citing Colonel-General Alexander Lapin, Commander of the Central Military District of the Russian Federation.   

According to him, the exercise is being conducted in two stages.

At the first stage, the rapid deployment forces of the Central Asian Region (CAR) of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) are rehearsing interaction and coordination in carrying out counterterrorist operations on blocking and annihilating illegal armed groups.  Military contingents of Tajikistan, Russia, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan are participating in the first stage of the exercise.

At the second stage, military contingents of Armenia and Belarus will join them.  Armenian and Belarusian servicemen will arrive in Tajikistan on October 24.  

During the second stage, the CSTO peacekeeping froes will rehearse interaction in carrying out peacekeeping operation on maintaining peace and stability in the CSTO area of responsibility in the Central Asian region.

Twenty combat planes and helicopters of the Russian Central Military District have already been deployed to Tajikistan for participation in the drill.    

In all, the exercise that is being conducted at the Harb-Maidon training ground in the Tajik southern Khatlon province reportedly involves more than 3,000 servicemen along with armored vehicles, artillery, ground-attack aircraft and combat helicopters.

The regional security organization was initially set up in 1992 in a meeting in Tashkent and Uzbekistan once already suspended its membership in 1999.  However, Tashkent returned to the CSTO again in 2006 The regional security organization was initially formed in 1992 for a five-year period by the members of the CIS Collective Security Treaty (CST) -- Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, which were joined by Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Belarus the following year.  A 1994 treaty reaffirmed the desire of all participating states to abstain from the use or threat of force, and prevented signatories from joining any “other military alliances or other groups of states” directed against members states.  The CST was then extended for another five-year term in April 1999, and was signed by the presidents of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Tajikistan.  In October 2002, the group was renamed as the CSTO.  Uzbekistan that suspended its membership in 1999 returned to the CSTO again in 2006 after it came under international criticism for its brutal crackdown of antigovernment demonstrations in the eastern city of Andijon in May 2005.  On June 28, 2012, Uzbekistan announced that it has suspended its membership of the CSTO, saying the organization ignores Uzbekistan and does not consider its views.  The CSTO is currently an observer organization at the United Nations General Assembly.

On October 6, 2007, CSTO members agreed to a major expansion of the organization that would create a CSTO peacekeeping force that could deploy under a U.N. mandate or without one in its member states.

On December 10, 2010, the member states approved a declaration establishing a CSTO peacekeeping force and a declaration of the CSTO member states, in addition to signing a package of joint documents.