SCO to begin large-scale anti-terror drills in Kazakhstan

September 9. RIA Novosti

SCO to begin large-scale anti-terror drills in KazakhstanThe six member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) will begin the Peace Mission-2010 joint anti-terror exercises on Thursday at the Matybulak training ground in Kazakhstan.

Established in 2001 as a non-military alliance, the regional mutual security group SCO initially aimed to deal with Islamic extremism and other security threats in Central Asia, but has since expanded its scope to include cooperation in disaster relief and trade.

In all, 5,000 troops from SCO member states (Russia, China , Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan) will take part. Each of the member states will contribute at least one operational-tactical group.

Russia will send over 1,000 troops, some 130 armored vehicles (tanks, self-propelled artillery systems and infantry fighting vehicles), more than 100 trucks, and over 10 aircraft (including Su-24 Fencer tactical bombers, Su-25 Frogfoot close-support aircraft and Mi-8 transport helicopters).

The drills will test the interoperability of the SCO armed forces in rendering assistance to a member state involved in an internal armed conflict or subjected to a mass terrorist attack.

The active phase of the 17-day exercises will be held on September 24.