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Russia Plans Joint Military Drills With Central Asian Countries, Citing Afghan Conflict

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu

The Russian military said it will conduct joint military maneuvers with countries in Central Asia in response to regional threats arising from the war in Afghanistan.

Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said at a meeting with Russia's top military brass in Moscow on August 18 that the conflict between Afghan government forces and the Taliban poses a threat to Central Asia's stability.

Shoigu said that Russia will hold joint war games later this year with Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Russia has military bases in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.

He said that as part of efforts to prepare for potential threats, Russia staged joint maneuvers with Tajikistan earlier this year. The drills in July involved launches of the Iskander-M missiles, one of the most advanced weapons in Russia's military arsenal.

Based on reporting by AP, TASS, and Interfax