Tajikistan has become the first CIS member country to host a Russian military advisory mission, Defense Minister Sherali Hairulloev announced yesterday. A first group of 14 Russian officers, out of the mission’s 72, will officially start working in Tajikistan’s Defense Ministry on April 19. Ranging in rank "from general to lieutenant," the Russian officers will assist in building a "combat-ready Tajik army" and training Tajik commanding officers at all levels from brigade to platoon. The mission’s duration is open-ended — "until its tasks have been completed," Hairulloev said. In addition, 116 Tajik officers trained in Russian military schools are expected to join Dushanbe’s army shortly. (Interfax, April 13)
The military advisory mission adds an additional layer to Russia’s military presence in Tajikistan. That presence already consists of Russian border troops; Russian army troops designated as "CIS peacekeepers;" Russian officers in senior posts, including deputy ministers in Dushanbe’s Defense, Internal Affairs, and State Security Ministries; and officers and technical specialists invited from Russia to serve with government forces on contract. The Dushanbe-Moscow agreement on the military mission may further complicate the inter-Tajik negotiations, currently suspended following several arrests and executions of opposition supporters by Dushanbe. (See Monitor, April 10)
Germany to Provide Military Training for Uzbekistan.