Tajikistan To Hold Separate Military Maneuvers With U.S., Russian Troops
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Separate military maneuvers -- one involving Tajik and U.S. forces and the other Tajik and Russian troops -- are due to begin in Tajikistan on March 27.
The Tajik-U.S. exercises will be conducted by the U.S. Defense Department and Tajikistan's security forces until April 7. They were announced by the U.S. Embassy on March 20.
Embassy officials told RFE/RL on March 27 that some 150 Americans and 100 Tajik personnel are taking part in the maneuvers, which will focus on fighting transnational terrorism.
Three days after the U.S. Embassy's announcement, media reports quoted Tajik defense officials as saying that 50,000 Tajik troops and some 2,000 Russian military personnel will hold military exercises in Tajikistan from March 27-31.
On March 25, Russia's Central Military Region said several military planes were brought to Tajikistan from Russia's Kant military base in neighboring Kyrgyzstan to take part in the maneuvers.
A representative of the Russian military in Tajikistan told RFE/RL on March 27 that the Tajik-Russian maneuvers had been planned for months.
He said the exercises will be held in Tajikistan's southern Khatlon region.
Russia has some 7,000 troops in Tajikistan, making it Moscow's largest military contingent abroad.
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