Joint anti-terrorism exercises of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), Peace Mission 2010, enter their active phase on Friday at the Matybulak range in southeast Kazakhstan.
The 17-day drills, which began on September 9, are aimed at testing the interoperability of the SCO armed forces in rendering assistance to a member state involved in an internal armed conflict or subjected to a terrorist attack.
The exercises involve some 5,000 servicemen from five of the six SCO member states - Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan. Uzbekistan has chosen not to take part.
More than 300 military vehicles and over 50 combat aircraft and helicopters from Kazakhstan, China and Russia are employed.
Established in 2001 as a non-military alliance, the regional mutual security group SCO was initially aimed at dealing with Islamic extremism and other security threats in Central Asia, but has since expanded its scope to include cooperation in disaster relief and trade.
MATYBULAK RANGE (Kazakhstan), September 24 (RIA Novosti)