Wednesday, September 8, 2010

SCO to begin large-scale anti-terror drills in Kazakhstan

The six member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) will begin joint anti-terror exercises, Peace Mission-2010, at the Matybulak training ground in Kazakhstan on Thursday.

Established in 2001 as a non-military alliance, the regional mutual security group SCO initially set dealing with Islamic extremism and other security threats in Central Asia as its goal, but has since expanded its scope to include cooperation in disaster relief and trade.

In all, 5,000 troops from SCO member states (Russia, China , Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan) will take part. Each of the member states will contribute at least one operational-tactical group.

Russia will send over 1,000 troops, some 130 armored vehicles (tanks, self-propelled artillery systems and infantry fighting vehicles), more than 100 trucks, and over 10 aircraft (including Su-24 Fencer tactical bombers, Su-25 Frogfoot close-support aircraft and Mi-8 transport helicopters).

The drills will test the interoperability of the SCO armed forces in rendering assistance to a member state involved in an internal armed conflict or subjected to a mass terrorist attack.

The active phase of the 17-day exercises will be held on September 24.


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