Tajik minister says joint CIS drills display of force, unity

ITAR-TASS news agency, Moscow
4 Apr 05

Dushanbe, 4 April: The second phase of the joint Rubezh-2005 command
and staff exercises of the Collective Security Treaty Organization
[CSTO; members are Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan
and Russia] member states is nearing completion in Tajikistan today.

"In the first and second phases of the manoeuvres, the rapid deployment
of the command and headquarters of the Collective Rapid Deployment
Forces (CRDF) was performed at the Tajik Defence Ministry's Military
Institute, as well as a plan was drafted on the use of the CRDF
in operations to destroy a mock adversary, who had violated the
independence and territorial integrity of the Central Asian states,"
the head of the Tajik Defence Ministry press service, Zarobiddin
Sirojev, told an ITAR-TASS correspondent.

Yesterday, Tajik Defence Minister Col-Gen Sherali Khayrulloyev said
that the holding of the exercises against the background of the
events in Kyrgyzstan "is a demonstration of the force and unity
of all the CSTO member states". The minister also said that he,
accompanied by the commander of Volga-Urals Military District of
the Russian armed forces, Vladimir Boldyrev, had visited the Eshak
Maydon firing range, 200 km south of Dushanbe. The active phase of
the Rubezh-2005 exercises involving more than 1,000 CRDF servicemen
will be held there on 5-6 April.

Russia is represented at the Rubezh-2005 exercises by subunits of
the 201st Motor-Rifle Division. In accordance with an interstate
Russian-Tajik agreement, the division is being transformed into a
Russian military base.

"The tasks and goals that the base will be carrying out have remained
unchanged - to repel any kind of external aggression against the
country [Tajikistan] jointly with the Tajik armed forces," Boldyrev
stressed.

Simultaneously with participating in the CRDF drills, the Russian
motor riflemen are conducting the scheduled command and staff training
involving field firing at three Tajik firing ranges - Lohur, Mumirak
and Sunbula. All in all, about 3,000 servicemen and over 350 units of
military hardware are stationed at the four firing ranges, including
the Eshak Maydon.