INAUSPICIOUS PRELUDE TO RUSSIAN WAR GAME IN TAJIKISTAN.

Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 70

A Sukhoi-25 fighter-bomber of the Russian "peacekeeping" forces in Tajikistan crashed on April 11, killing its two pilots — a lieutenant-colonel and a captain — both of whom had a long experience of flying in remote mountainous areas.

The plane was overflying an area known as Tiger’s Gully, some 150 kilometers of Dushanbe, in preparation for joint tactical exercises to be held there by Russia’s 201st division and Tajik troops. The main phase of the exercise is scheduled for April 16-17 and will involve armor, artillery, motor-rifle units and aviation. The scenario envisages encircling an invading force that broke into Tajikistan from Afghanistan and forcing it to surrender. (RTR, Itar-Tass and other Russian agencies, April 11 through 13)

The scenario appears to reflect the familiar, and almost certainly irrational, assumptions in Moscow and Dushanbe that Afghanistan’s Taliban movement threatens to invade Tajikistan. — VS

[Note: In the April 9 issue of the Monitor, sources for two stories — those on the oil seminar in Washington and that on Luzhkov at Harvard — were not cited. Monitor correspondent Peter Rutland was present at both conferences, chairing at Harvard and speaking in Washington.]

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