DUSHANBE, (Tajikistan): Tajikistan on Thursday checked the combat readiness of its armed forces in the biggest such exercise in the country's history as the Taliban makes sweeping gains in neighbouring Afghanistan.
The 230,000 members of the Central Asian country's security forces were alerted for the test at 4 am (0100 GMT Wednesday) on the order of President Emomali Rakhmon.
Dushanbe also relocated 20,000 troops to strengthen its force on the border with Afghanistan. The Taliban in recent weeks have brought huge swathes of Afghanistan under their control as foreign troops draw down, including the main Shir Khan Bandar border crossing with Tajikistan.
The military inspection was the first of its kind in the ex-Soviet country's 30-year history. It involved testing of all weapons used by the Tajik army, including ground, aviation and artillery forces. The operation was broadcast on Tajik state television and ended with a military parade headed by Rakhmon in which he called on Tajiks to be "ready to defend peace and stability" in the region.