Tajikistan, Russia and Uzbekistan have completed joint military exercise at the Harbmaidon range in Tajikistan’s Khatlon province located some 20 kilometers from the border with Afghanistan.

Tajik Defense Minister Sherali Mirzo, Commander of Russia’s Central Military District Alexander Lapin and First Deputy Defense Minister of Uzbekistan Shuhrat Kholmukhamedov have observed the final phase of the exercise, Colonel Faridoun Mahmadalizoda, a spokesman for the Tajik Ministry of Defense, told Asia-Plus in an interview.

Recall, Tajikistan, Russia, and Uzbekistan have held joint military maneuvers near the Afghan border amid increasing security concerns in Central Asian nations over Taliban offensives against government troops in northern Afghanistan.

A total of 2,500 troops, including 1,800 from Russia, and about 500 pieces of military hardware have been involved in the exercise.  Russia’s 201st military base deployed in Tajikistan provided the bulk of the Russian troops.

During the exercise, they polished joint military efforts against illegal armed formations that intervene into the territory of an ally country.

Meanwhile, Russian news agency TASS says that Commander of Russia’s Central Military District Colonel General Alexander Lapin noted that “for the first time, the joint force grouping used aircraft, reconnaissance and combat systems and assault troops based on the experience gained in Syria." 

Tajikistan’s Defense Minister, Colonel General Sherali Mirzo, in turn, noted that the three countries had held counter-terrorism drills like that for the first time.

Uzbekistan’s Chief of the General Staff Shuhrat Kholmukhamedov also noted that the situation in Afghanistan "requires us to remain vigilant and maintain our combat capabilities."