Russian, Kazakh and Kyrgyz officers completed on July 9 a three-day staff exercise, held at a military base outside Almaty. The Dostyk/Druzhba (Friendship)-98 exercise, the first of its type, rehearsed joint operations by the three countries’ forces. In the first phase, putative joint forces destroyed a terrorist group in order to rescue an international train and the captive passengers. The second phase of the exercise rehearsed a joint defensive operation by general-purpose forces against a hypothetical invasion, followed by a counteroffensive. The use of “combined arms”–including infantry, armor and ground-support aviation–was rehearsed. A Russian, a Kazakh and a Kyrgyz general all participated in commanding the exercise. (Xinhua, July 9)–VS
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