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Uzbek special forces train in U.S.A..

| 2019

For the first time, servicemen of a special forces unit of the Uzbek Defense Ministry are taking part in Southern Strike joint force exercises at Camp Shelby, military base in Mississippi, the Uzbek Ministry of Defense said. Exercise scenarios are designed to meet current global crises and the individual training needs of the involved units.

Uzbek special forces train in U.S
Uzbek special forces using a Polaris Defense MRZR tactical vehicle during the Southern Strike exercise 2019 at Camp Shelby (Picture source: Uzbek MoD)

Southern Strike is an annual Joint Force exercise hosted by the Mississippi Air National Guard. It is a large-scale, joint multinational combat exercise that provides tactical level training for the full spectrum of conflict. It emphasizes air dominance, maritime operations, maritime air support, precision engagement, close air support, command and control, personnel recovery, aero medical evacuation, and combat medical support.

On January 26, 2019, the Uzbek Ministry of Defense announced that the country had sent special operator personnel to the U.S. to participate in the Southern Strike exercises at Camp Shelby, Mississippi. Personnel from Canada, Chile, and the Netherlands are also present for the exercise, which is hosted by the Mississippi Air National Guard.

A photo released by the Uzbek Ministry of Defense and published on the Tashkent Times shows several soldiers operating a Polaris Defense MRZR, a tactical vehicle recently procured by Uzbekistan's neighbor, Turkmenistan. It is not apparent whether the Uzbek military has procured the vehicle as well.

Uzbek Defense Minister Abdusalom Azizov will observe the exercises, according to the statement. He arrived in the U.S. on January 26 and will depart on January 30. During his visit, he will also meet with CENTCOM officials. Among other topics, the military situation in Uzbekistan's neighbor Afghanistan is likely to feature prominently in the discussions -- the U.S. is seeking to reach and implement a peaceful resolution for the conflict in Afghanistan, where American forces have been deployed since 2001.


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