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27 Jun, 2009 05:49

Rapid responders: Kyrgyz battalion getting ready to fight terror

The Collective Security Treaty Organisation is planning to set up a Rapid Response Force to tackle terrorist threats across its member states.

The group is made up of seven former soviet states including Russia and Kazakhstan.

On the slopes of the Kyrgyzstan Mountains, one of the most elite units in Central Asia is tackling a terrorist group that found its way into the country. Luckily, for now, this is just a practice drill for the soldiers.

“The main thing while conducting such operations in mountains is team work, operability, and good physical and professional level of every soldier,” said Ruslan Kenezhbaev, a member of the battalion.

To counter the modern threats in the region the Collective Security Treaty Organization is now preparing to create a Rapid Response Force. The head of this organization recently pointed out that the Kyrgyz battalion is almost ready to stand up for the fight

“Recently our battalion was recognized as the most prospective Kyrgyz unit for the planned combined rapid response force,” said Almaz Karasartov, battalion commander. “As soon as the decision is made we are ready to take on any task anywhere.”

For the last six months the battalion has worked hard to achieve such an honor. It was specially restructured and the troops have strived to turn themselves into universal soldiers.

Physical drills are a daily routine for the men. Every day, fully equipped, they run 17 kilometres through mountainous terrain to the practice range and back. All this turns them into almost tireless machines.

The first to assemble such rapid reaction forces was NATO and then the European Union. Now, with the threat of terrorism and extremism looming despite NATO efforts in Afghanistan, the need for this kind of forces has come to the post-soviet space as well, but the generals say it will not be exactly the same.

“Modern threats simply demand that we create such an instrument as the Collective Rapid Response Force within the CSTO,” said Major General Askarbek Zhaparov. “But it should be different from what the NATO or EU has. There definitely should be less bureaucracy.”

Until the final command is given to assemble a Rapid Response force, units like the Kyrgyz battalion will continue to sharpen their skills.