Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan Resolve Border Dispute

President Sadyr Zhaparov of the Kyrgyz Republic and President Emomali Rahmon of Tajikistan forged a bi-lateral agreement regarding shared disputed borders, outside the CSTO framework.

“Chairman of the State Committee for National Security Kamchybek Tashiev said that more than 90% of the Kyrgyz-Tajik border has been agreed upon. He made this statement on December 12 after a meeting with his Tajik counterpart Saimumin Yatimov.”

The accompanying excerpted article from the independent news website Kloop reports that Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan recently reached a bilateral agreement to demarcate most of their shared border separate from efforts by Russia and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) to resolve the border dispute. The CSTO is a political-military organization made up of former Soviet republics, including Russia, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan that works to provide security in the Eurasia region. The Kyrgyzstan-Tajikistan dispute stems from borders that were not demarcated when the two countries became independent. The lack of clear boundaries has been a source of contention and became particularly acute after a series of clashes took place in 2022.[i] The largest and deadliest clash took place in September 2022 and threatened to undermine cooperation within the CSTO as it marked the first time relations between two member states resulted in open armed conflict.[ii] According to the Kloop article, the heads of the National Security Committees of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan met in December and agreed to demarcate a large section of their border. The agreement includes demarcating some of the more controversial sections of the border near the location of previous clashes. The article also notes that the agreement is not finalized, but it will likely fulfill the promise by Kyrgyzstan’s President Sadyr Japarov to resolve the border issue by the spring of 2024. It remains to be seen whether this agreement will prevent any future border clashes from taking place or if they do, whether Russia or the CSTO will get involved. While the fact that neither Russia nor the CSTO were involved in the mediations is noteworthy given the regional role of Russia and the fact that the CSTO, the development is not necessarily a sign of waning Russian interest. Russia has offered to mediate following border clashes between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan over the years, but nothing came of it. Also, the CSTO claims it is ready and capable of providing security in the region but could not prevent two of its member states from clashing. Instead, the agreement between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan reflects the fact that governments in the region have taken more initiative[iii]  in regard to their own security affairs, rather than looking to outside partners.


“Ташиев и Ятимов сообщили о согласовании более 90% кыргызско-таджикской границы (Tashiyev and Yatimov reported on the agreement of more than 90 percent of the Kyrgyz-Tajik border),” Kloop (independent Russian-language news website in Kyrgyzstan), 13 December 2023.

Chairman of the State Committee for National Security Kamchybek Tashiev said that more than 90% of the Kyrgyz-Tajik border has been agreed upon. He made this statement on December 12 after a meeting with his Tajik counterpart Saimumin Yatimov.

Tashiev and Yatimov are the chairmen of the government delegations of the Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan on the delimitation and demarcation of the Kyrgyz-Tajik border…

According to him, the sections starting from Kayragach, Kulundu, Maksat, Arki-1, Arki-2, Zhany-zher and up to Zhiydelik have been fully agreed upon. Sections from Kara-Bak, Lakko to the “junction of the point of three states” have also been agreed upon.

“That is, at the moment we have almost completed all controversial issues [on the border]. There are only a few meetings left to finally finalize the issue with the state border,” concluded the head of the State Committee for National Security…

Earlier, President Sadyr Japarov promised that the issue of the Kyrgyz-Tajik border would be resolved before the spring of 2024.

The total length of the Kyrgyz-Tajik border is 972 kilometers. As of 2022, a total of 664 kilometers of border have been agreed upon…

Due to undefined borders, conflicts periodically arise in the territories adjacent to Tajikistan in the Batken and Osh regions…

The last large-scale conflict occurred on September 14-17, 2022. Fights and clashes took place along the entire perimeter of the state border. As a result of the conflict, 63 Kyrgyzstanis were killed and another 206 people were injured. The Tajik authorities noted that 41 people were killed and more than 20 people were injured in that conflict…


[i] For background on Russian efforts following the September 2022 clashes, see (in Russian): Mirayim Almas, “«Богатый опыт»: Россия готова помочь Кыргызстану и Таджикистану в решении пограничных споров (‘Rich experience’: Russia is ready to help Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan in resolving the border disputes),” Kloop, 15 September 2022.

[ii] Kyrgyzstan cancelled a CSTO exercise set to take place in October 2022 following the border clash with Tajikistan. See: Matthew Stein “Members Of Collective Security Treaty Organization Show Less Support For Russia-Led Body,” OE Watch, 11-2022.

[iii] For more on Central Asian states cooperating on security issues, see: Matthew Stein “Central Asian States Take the Initiative in Security Cooperation,” OE Watch, 01-2022.

Image Information:

Image: President Sadyr Zhaparov of the Kyrgyz Republic and President Emomali Rahmon of Tajikistan forged a bi-lateral agreement regarding shared disputed borders, outside the CSTO framework.
Sources: and – /media/File:2021_Moscow_Victory_Day_Parade_037_(cropped).jpg
Attribution: Modified (combined photos) as per rights granted: CC BY SA 4.0

Chinese-Tajikistani Security Cooperation Gaining Momentum (Matthew Stein and Peter Wood) (January 2024)

(Click image to download brief.)

Key Takeaways:

  • China and Tajikistan share a 477km border and have an estimated $1.78 billion in bilateral trade, which is significantly imbalanced in favor of China.
  • Recent years have seen a significant improvement in relations between China and Tajikistan, with China constructing a military base in 2016 near Tajikistan’s border with Afghanistan and a November 2022 bilateral agreement to increase security cooperation.
  • China’s security cooperation with Tajikistan does not appear to conflict or cause friction with Tajikistan’s main security cooperation partner, Russia, but nevertheless advances Chinese interests in the region at a time when Russian support is limited due to its invasion of Ukraine.

Kyrgyzstan Acquires Turkish UAS, Showing Less Reliance on Russia

A Turkish TAI Aksungur twin-engine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle on demonstration at Teknofest 2019.

For 2.5 years, Kyrgyzstan has allocated 125 billion soms ($1.422 billion) to upgrade equipment.”

Kyrgyzstan has relied on Russian security assistance to help upgrade weapon systems and equipment for its armed forces. When the government announced in late 2021 that it had purchased two Turkish Bayraktar TB-2 unmanned aerial systems (UAS) for the country’s border guards, it marked a partial shift away from Russian systems that has continued with newer acquisitions.[i] The excerpted article from the independent news website Fergana Agency reports that Kyrgyzstan spent $1.4 billion over the past two-and-a-half years on its armed forces. The article notes that Kyrgyzstan acquired Bayraktar, Aksungur, and Akinci UAS from Turkey, as well as Pechora surface-to-air missile systems and Mi-8 and Mi-17 helicopters from Russia. It is unclear if the TB-2s are additional systems, but the Aksungur and Akinci and Russian systems are new acquisitions.[ii] The article also discusses the numerous conflicts that have taken place on the Kyrgyzstan-Tajikistan border in recent years, suggesting one possible motivation for Kyrgyzstan’s desire to upgrade its systems. According to the article, last September both Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan brought up additional forces during one clash that killed dozens, demonstrating how clashes in recent years have increased in scale. Overall, Kyrgyzstan’s military acquisitions are not a shift in the balance of power in the region, but it provides it an edge that Tajikistan does not have.


“За 2,5 года Кыргызстан потратил на обновление вооруженной техники почти $1,5 млрд (For 2.5 years Kyrgyzstan has spent almost $1.5 billion on upgrading military equipment),” Fergana Agency (independent Russian-language news website focusing on Central Asia), 21 July 2023.

For 2.5 years, Kyrgyzstan has allocated 125 billion soms ($1.422 billion) to upgrade equipment. This was announced by the head of the State Committee for National Security (GKNB) Kamchybek Tashiev at a government meeting…

Tashiyev noted that in 2005-2020, Kyrgyzstan spent 3-5 billion soms ($34-56.9 million) for the same purposes. For comparison, he listed that in 2021 alone, the country’s authorities allocated 32 billion soms ($364 million) to upgrade weapons, in 2022 – 53 billion soms ($603 million), for six months of 2023 – more than 40 billion soms ($455 million).

…According to Tashiev, Bayraktar, Aksungur, Akinci drones, the Pechora anti-aircraft missile system, Mi-8, Mi-17 helicopters were purchased.

“We didn’t receive all this as a gift, all this was purchased with state budget funds,” Tashiev stressed. …in recent years there have been numerous border conflicts between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. The biggest one happened in September last year. Artillery and heavy armored vehicles were involved in the battles on both sides.


[i] For background on Kyrgyzstan’s acquisition of Bayraktars in 2021, see: Matthew Stein “Kyrgyzstan Conducts Exercise with Its New Bayraktars,” OE Watch, 05-2022.

[ii] One of the deliveries of new Russian helicopters took place a few weeks before the announcement by Tashiev, see: Kseniya Timofeeva, “Кыргызстан получил новый вертолет Ми-17. От России, но за свои средства (Kyrgyzstan received a new Mi-17 helicopter. From Russia, but bought on its own),” Kaktus, 23 June 2023.

Image Information:

Image: A Turkish TAI Aksungur twin-engine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle on demonstration at Teknofest 2019.
Attribution: CC BY-SA 4.0

Russia Strengthens Its Military Presence in Central Asia

 201st Military Base.

201st Military Base.

“Russia decided to increase the readiness of its military bases in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan because of “US attempts to restore its military presence in Central Asia.”

Russia’s military bases in Central Asia have always been important to its strategic goals in the region, particularly for dealing with potential instability in Afghanistan. While the Russian government initially accepted U.S. airbases in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan beginning in 2001 to support operations in Afghanistan, it later pressed both governments to evict U.S. forces. The United States left the Kharshi-Khanbad airbase (known as K2) in Uzbekistan in 2005[i] and left the Transit Center at Manas in Kyrgyzstan in 2014. Russian officials have claimed that U.S. security cooperation with Central Asian states in the 2000s took place as part of an effort to establish permanent military bases in the region, though the United States has not used a regional military facility since it left Manas.

The accompanying excerpted article from Kyrgyzstan’s independent news website Kloop reports on a statement by Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu at a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) on 28 April 2023 in New Delhi, India about increasing the combat readiness of Russian bases in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Shoigu noted that Russia made this decision to increase combat readiness because the United States is trying “to restore its military presence in Central Asia…under the pretext of helping in the fight against terrorism.” However, the article also notes that Shoigu did not offer facts to substantiate this this claim. When Russian officials announced measures to strengthen its military bases in Central Asia in the past, they noted specific increases in capabilities, like the transfer of S-300 [RG1] air defense systems to Tajikistan in 2019.[ii] Shoigu also stated that requests from members of the SCO to host military facilities is a “direct threat to stability in the SCO space.” Shoigu did not mention which SCO member would potentially host the U.S. military, but SCO members in Central Asia include Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan. There have been no reports that any of the three have been negotiating to host U.S. forces, but Shoigu is warning fellow SCO members that Russia will consider hosting the United States as a threat. The article also usefully provides a reminder of the current Russian military bases in Central Asia. These include the Kant airbase outside Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, and the 201st Russian military base, home of the 201st Motor Rifle Division, in Tajikistan, the latter of which is Russia’s largest military facility outside its borders. The article ends by noting that Ukraine claimed it destroyed a tactical group from the 201st military base last year, though this has not been verified. While Russia claims it is strengthening its bases in Central Asia as a measure to maintain its presence in the region, without any specific information on how this will take place, it is possible that Russia is doing this to replace losses of the of the 201st in Tajikistan suffered in Ukraine.


Munduzbek Kalykov, “Шойгу: Россия повышает боеготовность своих военных баз в Кыргызстане и Таджикистане (Shoigu: Russia will increase the combat readiness of its military bases in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan),” Kloop (an independent Russian-language news website in Kyrgyzstan), 29 April 2023.

Russia decided to increase the readiness of its military bases in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan because of “US attempts to restore its military presence in Central Asia.” This was stated by Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu as reported by RIA Novosti.

According to Shoigu, “the United States and its allies, under the pretext of helping in the fight against terrorism, are trying to restore their military presence in Central Asia.” However, he did not provide specific facts.

“We regard requests to the countries of the region to deploy military infrastructure as a direct threat to stability in the SCO space…” Shoigu said on April 28 at meeting of defense ministers of the SCO member states in New Delhi.

A Russian military base has existed in Kyrgyzstan since the early 2000s. Its main forces are located in the small town of Kant, not far from Bishkek – these are Su-25 [RG1] attack aircraft and Mi-8 [RG2] helicopters. The Russian joint military base also includes a test site at Issyk-Kul, where Russian sailors test underwater torpedoes.

The 201st Russian military base is located in Tajikistan, and the garrison is deployed in the cities of Dushanbe and Bokhtar. This is Russia’s largest military facility outside its borders. The base includes motorized rifle artillery, reconnaissance, anti-aircraft missile and other units, as well as an air group……in mid-April 2022, the Ukrainian army announced the destruction of the tactical group of the 201st Russian military base, which has a permanent deployment in Tajikistan…


[i] The withdrawal of U.S. forces from K2 cannot be solely attributed to Russian pressure. In May 2005, the Uzbek military forcefully put down public demonstrations in the Ferghana Valley, killing numerous civilians and drawing the ire of the Bush administration regarding human rights. This began a diplomatic row between the United States and Uzbekistan, which resulted in an Uzbekistani demand that the United States leave the base within six months, eventually withdrawing from K2 in November 2005.

[ii] For more background on Russia’s transfers of S-300s to Tajikistan, see: Matthew Stein “Russia Transfers S-300s to Tajikistan,” OE Watch, December 2019.

Image Information:

Image: 201st Military Base.
Attribution: CCA 4.0

Key Arab Countries Join Chinese-Led Regional Body as Dialogue Partners

Shanghai Cooperation Organization Secretariat (2022).

Shanghai Cooperation Organization Secretariat (2022).

“… The group’s expansion, however, should not be interpreted as meant to pose a challenge to the West, but rather as a means to provide an alternative…”

A growing number of Arab countries are joining the Chinese-led Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) as “dialogue partners.” The SCO was established in the early 2000s as a mechanism for deepening political, economic, and security cooperation between countries of Central and South Asia. It has eight member nations (China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan) and over a dozen “observer” and “dialogue partner” nations, which may send delegates to SCO meetings and negotiate with the bloc on particular issues but do not have voting rights or official sway within the organization.

In the past year, Egypt, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE have all been officially granted “dialogue partner” status, with Bahrain expected to follow suit. With this, roughly two-thirds of countries in the CENTCOM Area of Responsibility have joined the SCO in some capacity.[i] While these developments bear watching, SCO partnership is—at least for now—not necessarily at odds with existing security commitments and arrangements.[ii] Instead, engagement with the SCO is seen as part of a strategic diversification approach being pursued by Arab countries in response to emerging multipolarity. Arabic-language media largely sees these moves through an economic lens and as part of what the first accompanying excerpt, published in the Qatari-aligned daily al-Araby al-Jadeed, considers China’s “efforts to consolidate a new multipolar world economic order.” Arab countries’ interest in the SCO, however, should not be dismissed as a purely economic phenomenon bereft of potential strategic implications. According to a former Egyptian diplomat cited in the second accompanying article, published last September in the prominent Saudi daily al-Sharq al-Awsat, Russia will seek to use the SCO “as an additional point in its confrontations with the West.” Russian attempts to use the SCO for strategic leverage against NATO would likely cause friction within the organization, clashing not only with China’s more regional and economic focus but also with the strategic interests of other SCO members. Nonetheless, growing Russo-Chinese geostrategic alignment may eventually enable the SCO’s orientation to gradually shift toward global geopolitics, particularly if its membership begins extending beyond Central and South Asia. Especially noteworthy in this regard is Iran’s interest in full SCO membership (it is currently an observer country). This interest, combined with the recent China-mediated Saudi-Iranian détente, makes the SCO a potential venue through which Iran may seek to compete with the United States. Last April, Iran was for the first time invited to participate in the SCO defense ministers’ meeting in New Delhi. As reported in the third accompanying excerpt, from the pro-Iranian Lebanese media outlet al-Mayadeen, Iran’s Defense Minister called for the establishing of a “Shanghai Maritime Security Belt” and more broadly using the SCO to promote a “balance of power.” Iranian ambitions notwithstanding, the SCO remains an “alternative” rather than a “challenge” to the West, as articulated by an Indian journalist cited in the fourth accompanying excerpt, from the Saudi English-language daily Arab News. Still, in a competitive world, today’s alternatives may become tomorrow’s challenges. Present Arab involvement in the SCO remains limited and largely economic in nature, but the potential for this involvement to morph in a way that that erodes U.S.-Arab security partnerships, while not imminent, is worthy of consideration.


“منظمة شنغهاي.. ترسيخ الصين لاقتصاد التعددية القطبية يتمدّد عربياً

(Shanghai Organization.. China’s consolidation of the multipolar economy is expanding in the Arab world),” al-Araby al-Jadeed (Qatari-aligned daily), 16 April 2023.

China is seeking to attract a larger number of economically active countries to membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, as part of its efforts to consolidate a new multipolar world economic order.

“ماذا يعني انضمام 5 دول عربية إلى منظمة «شنغهاي»؟

(What does the accession of 5 Arab countries to the ‘Shanghai Organization’ mean?).” al-Sharq al-Awsat (influential Saudi daily), 17 September 2022.

Ambassador Raouf Saad, the former Egyptian assistant foreign minister and former Egyptian ambassador to Moscow, acknowledged that Russia will work to exploit the matter as an additional point in its confrontations with the West. However, he stressed the constants of Egyptian foreign policy, which refuses to “enter into alliances directed at the expense of its interests.”

“وزير الدفاع الإيراني: يجب تفعيل حزام الأمن البحري لمنظمة “شنغهاي

(Iranian Defense Minister: The ‘Shanghai Organization’ maritime security belt must be activated,)” al-Mayadeen (pro-Iran Lebanese media outlet), 29 April 2023.

Today, Saturday, the Iranian Minister of Defense, Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Ashtiani, proposed adopting the “Shanghai Maritime Security Belt” mechanism with the aim of maintaining the security of communication lines and collectively guaranteeing global trade with the participation of the armed forces of member states…

During his remarks at the meeting of defense ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization member states in New Delhi, India, Ashtiani said that the achievements of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization “should promote global multilateralism and balance of power.”

“Middle Eastern participation grows in China-led security bloc as new countries join,” Arab News (English-language Saudi daily), 5 May 2023.
“It is a question of moving the weight or the center of gravity from the Western world — the US and EU combined — to the Eastern world, the place where the population of the world actually now exists overwhelmingly, the place where the fastest-growing economies are also present,” Suhashini Haidar, diplomatic editor at the English-language daily the Hindu, told Arab News. The group’s expansion, however, should not be interpreted as meant to pose a challenge to the West, but rather as a means to provide an alternative, she said.


[i] Of the 21 countries in the CENTCOM Area of Responsibility, only eight (Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Oman, Syria, Turkmenistan, and Yemen) do not have any status in the SCO. However, Iraq, Israel, and Syria have all applied for dialogue partner status, while Turkmenistan has attended SCO summits as a guest attendee. That leaves Jordan, Lebanon, Oman, and Yemen as the only countries with no relationship to the SCO.

[ii] SCO partnership alone means little in terms of defense commitments: Turkey, a NATO member, is an SCO dialogue partner.  Full membership in the SCO should also not be equated to membership in a defense alliance, such as NATO, given that both India and Pakistan are full members. Armenia and Azerbaijan, which have an adversarial relationship with one another, are both dialogue partners.

Image Information:

Image: Shanghai Cooperation Organization Secretariat (2022).
Source: N509FZ,
Attribution: CC 4.0

Iran Asks Tajikistan Not To Use Iranian Drones in Dispute With Kyrgyzstan

The Ababil-2 drone which the Islamic Republic of Iran exported to Tajikistan

The Ababil-2 drone which the Islamic Republic of Iran exported to Tajikistan.

“The drones should not be used in conflicts between the two countries…”

In September 2022, fighting erupted along the Kyrgyzstan-Tajikistan border for the fifth in less than a year between the two Central Asian states. Several dozen soldiers and civilians were killed on each side. While both states have pulled forces from the un-demarcated border, tensions remain high and neither state is prepared to renounce its claims.

The excerpted article from popular, reform-leaning Iranian news source, highlights another angle to the conflict—Iranian drones. Iran has long sought to cultivate allies across Central Asia, a region with which Iran has traditionally had deep ties. In recent months, this has paid dividends with Kyrgyzstan, who voted in favor if Iran joining the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. However, the good relationship between Kyrgyzstan and Iran could be under pressure given Bishkek’s accusations, according to the article, that Tajikistan has used Iranian Ababil-2 drones along the disputed border. In an October 2022 statement released via Telegram, Kyrgyzstan’s State Committee for National Security said there were at least 10 instances of Tajik drones violating its airspace along the border since in recent weeks. Tajikistan, meanwhile, has accused Kyrgyzstan of using Turkish Bayraktar TB2 drones against Tajik forces and civilian targets.

Iran has become a drone-exporting power in recent years. and is unique compared to other drone exporters—principally Israel, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates—in that it allows client countries to manufacture its drones under license. Such outsourcing affords Iran a modicum of plausible deniability in case there is blowback regarding their use by Iranian proxies or others. In this case, however, the use of drones by one Iranian ally against another country to which Iran seeks close ties has escalated into a diplomatic headache. Gen. Mohammad Bagheri, the Iranian Army Chief of Staff, sought to allay Kyrgyzistani concerns by saying the Ababil-2 was merely a surveillance drone, and it is unclear whether the drone might have broader functions, such as suicide operations. Forfeiting operational control might have once been an attractive tactic for Iran, but client autonomy can have a cost when its target holds Iran, rather than the client, accountable for the use of Iranian drones.


“Sarlashkar Bagheri: Pehpadha-ye Ababil-2-e Iran dar Dargiri Morzi Tajikistan va Qirqizstan Istifadeh Namishavad (Major General Bagheri: Iranian Ababil-2 Drones are not Used in Tajikistan-Kyrgyzstan Border Dispute),” (popular reform-leaning Iranian website), 8 November 2022.

Maj. Gen. Mohammad Bagheri, chief of staff of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Armed Forces, spoke by phone with Kyrgyz Defense Minister Gen. Baktybek Bekbolotov about important issues in the region…. The Chairman of the General Staff of the Armed Forces said, “Given the border disputes and conflicts between Kazakhstan and Tajikistan in September [2022], the Islamic Republic of Iran has always stated its readiness for any assistance in order to resolve peacefully and prevent any conflict. Referring to the issue of sending Iranian drones to Tajikistan, Maj. Gen. Bagheri noted, “The Ababil-2 drones are only capable of reconnaissance, and such drones are not equipped with weapons and offensive equipment. In the border conflict between the Republic of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, the Iranian armed forces have always emphasized to the Tajik armed forces that the drones should not be used in conflicts between the two countries.


[1] The Telegram statement can be found here:  

[2] For background on the Iranian drone program and its exports, see: Michael Rubin, “A Short History of the Iranian Drone Program,” American Enterprise Institute, August 2020.

[3] For background, see: Michael Rubin, “Iran Opens New Drone Plant in Tajikistan,” OEW, July 2022.

Image Information:

Image: The Ababil-2 drone which the Islamic Republic of Iran exported to Tajikistan.
Attribution: Islamic Republic News Agency

Kyrgyzstan Conducts Exercise with Its New Bayraktars

Bayraktar TB2 S-IHA of the Turkish Army in Teknofest2021at Istanbul Atatürk Airport, Turkey.

Bayraktar TB2 S-IHA of the Turkish Army in Teknofest2021at Istanbul Atatürk Airport, Turkey.

“The Bayraktars entered service with the Border Guards in mid-December last year…”

Kyrgyzstan rarely acquires new weapons and equipment, so when the Kyrgyz government recently announced it had received a set of Turkish Bayraktar TB2 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), it marked an upgrade in the capabilities of Kyrgyz forces.  The accompanying excerpted articles report on a recent field exercise with the new drones as well as additional new equipment.

The article from the independent news website Kloop reports on an exercise involving Kyrgyzstan’s new Bayraktars.  The article notes that the scenario of the exercise involved eliminating a group of criminals with fire support from the UAVs.  Kyrgyz units in the Ministry of Defense, not the Border Guards, typically carry out this type of exercise.  The article mentions that it is unknown how many Bayraktars Kyrgyzstan purchased, but the UAVs and new vehicles are a notable upgrade specifically for the Border Guards.  There have been a number of clashes on the Kyrgyz-Tajik border over the past 10 years, including clashes in April-May 2021 that resulted in a few dozen people killed (border guards and civilians) and clashes on 12 April 2022.

The excerpted article from the Kyrgyz semi-independent newspaper Vecherniy Bishkek reports on the delivery of “50 new KAMAZ vehicles and 55 Tigr armored personnel carriers to the Border Guards Service of the National Security Committee of the Kyrgyz Republic” and notes that it is “the largest acquisition of equipment for Kyrgyzstan since its independence.”  The article also mentions that the Kyrgyz government purchased the new military equipment with state funds, which one political scientist believed was possible partly because of the government’s takeover of the Kumtor gold mine last year.  In May 2021, the Kyrgyz government took steps to take ownership of Kumtor a Canadian company that had operated and held majority ownership of the mine.  As of April 2022, Kyrgyz authorities now have ownership and control operation of the mine, which makes up a significant percentage of the country’s GDP.


Munduzbek Kalykov, “Одним видео: «Байрактар», бронетехника и президент в полевой кухне (One video: “Bayraktar”, armored personnel carriers and the president in a field kitchen),” Kloop (independent Russian-language news website in Kyrgyzstan), 31 March 2022.

The special tactical exercise “Kalkan-2022” has started at the “Edelweiss” training center in the city of Balykchy…

According to the exercise scenario, an “international criminal group” infiltrated Kyrgyzstan from a neighboring state, having already seized weapons, mortars, a tank and other equipment.

During the exercise, special units of the Border Guards blocked off and eliminated the mock enemy. Their captured armored vehicles were destroyed with the use of the Bayraktar…

The Bayraktars entered service with the Border Guards in mid-December last year. They were bought within the budget, but it is unknown how much was spent on them. Also, the number of drones was not specified.

Source: Bakyt Basarbek, “Благодаря правильной экономической политике мы закупили военную технику (We purchased military equipment thanks to the right economic policies),” Vecherniy Bishkek (semi-independent, Russian-language newspaper in Kyrgyzstan), 25 March 2022.

Today, on 25 March, in Bishkek, a ceremony was held to present 55 modern fire engines to the Ministry of Emergency Situations and 50 new KAMAZ vehicles and 55 Tigr armored personnel carriers to the Border Guards Service of the National Security Committee of the Kyrgyz Republic…this is the largest acquisition of equipment for Kyrgyzstan since its independence.

…the KAMAZ trucks and the armored personnel carriers were purchased with funds from the state budget…

“Now we can buy equipment ourselves. The privatization of Kumtor and general economic policy played a role in this,” said political scientist Mars Sariev…he recalled that Kyrgyzstan previously purchased the strike-capable unmanned aerial vehicle Bayraktar from Turkey…

Image Information:

Image: Bayraktar TB2 S-IHA of the Turkish Army in Teknofest2021at Istanbul Atatürk Airport, Turkey
Source: CeeGee via Wikimedia,
Attribution: CC by 4.0