DUSHANBE: Tajikistan began joint anti-terrorist drills with China on Thursday near the border with Afghanistan as part of Beijing’s drive to boost security in the region.
Tajikistan’s defence ministry said the exercise on Tajik territory would last until October 24 and involve at least 10,000 troops as well as military vehicles and helicopters.
Tajik authorities said last month that China would be building infrastructure to enhance security on the 1,300-kilometre border between Tajikistan and Afghanistan, which is a haven for drug traffickers.
China and Tajikistan entered into an anti-terrorism alliance with Pakistan and Afghanistan earlier this year.
Security issues in Central Asia, a region that borders China’s restive Xinjiang province, were once the exclusive preserve of Russia.
But that has changed with the expansion of the China- and Russia-led Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, which includes four of the five former Soviet republics of Central Asia and will soon incorporate Pakistan and India.
Published in Dawn, October 21st, 2016