Tajikistan acquires military might with assistance of Russia

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Among the events of the recent summit of the CIS countries leaders in Dushanbe, was the visit of Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov to the 201st Russian military base. The minister said that armament and military hardware of the 201st base would be transferred to Tajikistan. Serdyukov said that “In 2008, we plan to fully accomplish this transfer.”

The minister stressed, “The 201st base will be fully rearmed and equipped with new models of armament and military hardware.” Probably that was why Serdyukov checked the readiness of armament and military hardware of the base for partial handing over to the Tajik Defense Ministry especially attentively. Hence, there are two conclusions: Russia increases its military presence in Central Asia. The Tajik army will be strengthened simultaneously receiving strong military potential from Russia. What exactly will Dushanbe receive?

According to open information, the 201st military base has about 160 tanks, 140 armored personnel carriers and about 160 combat infantry vehicles. These are vehicles of mostly obsolete models. Tanks belong to T-62 and T-72 types and armored vehicles are BTR-70 or BTR-80 and BMP-1. All these vehicles were withdrawn from Afghanistan in 1989. According to experts, armament and military hardware are in good condition. Tajikistan will also receive a divisional artillery set consisting of three battalions of D-30 howitzers (72 pieces), nine batteries of 81-mm and 120-mm mortars (72 pieces) and ammunition for them. Tajikistan will also receive air defense systems, mostly portable air defense missile systems of Igla type and air defense self-propelled mounts Shilka and Osa.

On November 3 of 2006, former Commander of the Russian Air Force, Vladimir Mikhailov, handed four helicopters over to Tajikistan free of charge. These were two strike helicopters Mi-24 and two transport combat helicopters Mi-9. According to Mikhailov, in 2006 military technological aid to Tajikistan amounted to $26 million. In 2008, the value of armament and military hardware supplied to Tajikistan will grow to approximately $30 million.

Recently, it was reported in Tajikistan that Russia presented to the national army four combat training airplanes L-39 Albatross. After overhaul in Krasnoyarsk, the airplanes arrived to Tajikistan in a disassembled form. The airplanes were assembled on the spot by specialists of the 201st Russian military base together with Tajik colleagues. Tajik newspaper Asia Plus reported later that Lieutenant General Oleg Latypov, director of the main department for international cooperation of the Russian Defense Ministry, said that Albatross airplanes had ten-year service life with a possibility of prolongation.

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