Sun, 15 Dec 2019

DUSHANBE -- The Tajik and Chinese militaries have kicked off counterterrorism exercises in Tajikistan's mountainous Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region.

Tajik Defense Ministry spokesman Orif Nozimzoda told RFE/RL on August 13 that the goal of the joint drills was to better counter possible threats posed by terrorist and extremist groups.

The exercises are to run until August 16 and will involve about 1,200 troops from both sides, according to the news website of the Chinese military.

The Tajik Defense Ministry said the drills will be held in the districts of Khorugh, Ishkashim, and Shugnan, and will feature tanks and armored personnel carriers.

Military cooperation between China and Tajikistan has noticeably intensified over the past five years.

In October 2016, the two countries' militaries held joint drills in Gorno-Badakhshan that involved nearly 10,000 troops, including 200 Chinese soldiers.

Gorno-Badakhshan, the poorest region of Tajikistan, borders China, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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