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Russia flaunts military might on Afghanistan's borders as CSTO military exercises begin

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During the military exercise, Russian servicemen, together with military contingents, will conduct an operation to block and destroy illegal armed formations that have invaded the territory of a CSTO member state (Images courtesy: Twitter/@MOD_BY)

Russia's military strength is on full display as the collective forces of the Central Asian countries have kicked off one of the largest military exercises in the region to counter the challenges and threats emanating from the territory of Afghanistan after the return of Taliban.

More than 4000 armed forces personnel from Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Armenia and hosts Tajikistan - all member states of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) - and over 500 units of equipment are involved in the joint manoeuvres which began near the Afghanistan border on Monday.    

Echelon-2021, Search-2021 and Interaction-2021 special military exercises are being held at the Harb-Maidon and Momirak training grounds in the Khatlon region just 20 kilometers from the Tajik-Afghan border and will continue till October 23.

Military Exercise

Also Read: Central Asia frontline unites to confront Taliban on the Tajik-Afghan border

After the delivery of the operational directive, the CSTO collective forces group began to work out the tasks of preparing and conducting a joint operation to localize the border armed conflict associated with "attempts to infiltrate the militants of international terrorist organisations" into the territory of the CSTO member state.

"The exercise will work out the issues of material and technical support of the Collective Rapid Reaction Forces of the CSTO, involved in the destruction of detachments of terrorist formations that invaded the territory of a member state of the CSTO," says the Russian Defence Ministry.

As reported by IndiaNarrative.com earlier, the motorized rifle, artillery, tank and other units of the 201st military base of the Russian military in Dushanbe and Bokhtar - its largest facility located beyond its borders - is participating in these military exercises.

Four Sukhoi Su-25 attack aircraft from a wing of Russia's Kant integrated airbase in Kyrgyzstan have also been relocated to the Gissar airfield near Dushanbe to participate in the joint exercises.

Russian military said that the crews of attack aircraft will work out the search and destruction of objects of the imaginary enemy besides providing fire support from the air to motorized rifle and tank subunits in the course of training and combat missions in mountainous desert terrain.

Afghanistan border

Late last week, an AN-124 heavy transport aircraft of the Russian Air Force transferred six Tiger-M armoured vehicles to Dushanbe from its special-purpose brigade stationed in the Samara region for the military exercise.

Equipped with the latest Arbalet-DM remote-controlled weapon station, the vehicle has the ability to capture and automatically track the target through its thermal imaging camera, a target at a distance of 2.5 kilometers. It is also capable of operating in the temperature range from minus 40 to plus 50 degrees Celsius.

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More than 100 artillery systems and missile systems are also involved in the exercises of the military contingents.

According to the Russian Defence Ministry, a joint group of missile forces and artillery was created which is armed with the Russian Grad and Uragan multiple launch rocket systems, the Akatsia 152-mm self-propelled howitzers and the Gvozdika 122-mm howitzers, the Kornet anti-tank missile system, and the 2S12 Sani 120-mm mortar system.

"The artillery units of the military contingents will work out the tasks of setting barrage fire, destroying equipment, and suppressing long-term firing points of a conventional enemy," said a statement from Russia's Central Military District.

"At the final stage, Russian servicemen, together with military contingents, will conduct an operation to block and destroy illegal armed formations that have invaded the territory of a CSTO member state," it added.

All this while, as the collective forces are engaged in the joint exercises, the Russian military police in Tajikistan will provide security and defence for command posts at the training grounds.

In total, 35 police officers and two units of equipment will be involved in the exercise from the Russian military commandant's office, providing round-the-clock access control to the field headquarters of the exercise leadership, maintaining law and order and military discipline.

Also Read: Russian military reaches Afghanistan's border ahead of major exercise in Central Asia