BISHKEK -- Some 2,000 Russia and Kyrgyz troops are getting ready to launch joint counterterrorism exercises in eastern Kyrgyzstan.
The September 26 maneuvers at the Edelweiss training ground will involve nearly 400 pieces of military hardware, including 30 Russian aircraft and Iskander-M ballistic missile systems, Russia's Defense Ministry said in a statement.
The drills are part of the Commonwealth of Independent States' (CIS) Issyk-Kul Antiterror 2018 exercises, which started earlier this month.
On September 25, Kyrgyz special forces foiled a simulated terrorist attack on the Issyk-Kul international airport in the resort city of Cholpon-Ata, according to the Kyrgyz State Committee for National Security.
Addressing a meeting of counterterrorism officials from CIS member states in Cholpon-Ata, Kyrgyz Deputy Prime Minister Zhenish Razakov said that "the terrorist threat coming from Afghanistan is intensifying."
"What is especially worrisome is that terrorist and other extremist forces, acting in close interaction, are not giving up their attempts to cross into the territory of the Central Asian region from northern Afghanistan with the aim of destabilizing the situation," Razakov said.
Andrei Novikov, head of the CIS Antiterrorism Center, said the Issyk-Kul Antiterror 2018 drills were aimed at countering the threat of Islamic terrorists trying to gain a foothold in Central Asia.
"We see attempts by international terrorist organizations to set up a new foothold of the so-called 'caliphate' in the region and also form [new] 'sleeper' [cells] and invigorate existing ones," Novikov said.
Full members of the CIS include Russia and eight former Soviet republics -- Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.