The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), an organization for military cooperation which includes Russia, China and all the former Soviet republics in Central Asia except Turkmenistan, are currently holding military exercises in Tajikistan, the BBC reports. The exercises are being billed as an "anti-terrorism" drill, but given that pro-democratic or otherwise anti-establishment movements in these countries are often labeled "terrorists" the claim is dubious. Moreover, the exercise will include not only personnel and vehicles, but also fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft. And it is taking place in a country that borders Afghanistan, where NATO is current waging a war against the Taliban. In spite of recent diplomatic niceties, the message is clear: America, go home. This is someone else's back yard.
Observers from India, Pakistan and Iran - all of which have official observer status with the organization - were present. Mongolia, a staunch supporter of the US, also has official observer status, but for reasons that are not given, there are no Mongolian observers present.
"One of the exercises involves Russian and Tajik special forces countering a simulated terrorist attack from Afghanistan." Another exercise involved para-drops. This is no small-scale war game. Nevertheless, do you think Dmitry Medvedev is going to suddenly decide to drop his complaint about NATO exercises in Georgia? Of course not.
The photo is from Peace Mission 2007, the previous SCO war game. According to official Chinese sources, "air forces and precision-guided weapons" were used at this "anti-terrorism military drill." Mmm hmm...