ASTANA – The first phase of the Steppe Eagle 2015 peacekeeping exercises was completed April 6-17 at Iliskiy training area near Almaty, reported the Kazakh Ministry of Defence press service.
“The main purpose of the event is to improve the practical skills of the staff of Kazakhstan’s peacekeeping brigade and the peacekeeping battalion in the course of the UN peacekeeping operations, as well as improving combat coordination units in peacekeeping operations in the conflict between the warring parties,” said airmobile forces commander Major General Daulet Ospanov.
About 100 soldiers from the United States and Great Britain and representatives of the KAZBRIG peacekeeping brigade, which includes the Kazakh armed forces airmobile troops, attended Steppe Eagle2015. Soldiers worked on an episode of the peacekeeping operation to detect illegal military formations and cordon the area. According to the introduction of this episode, members of mock gangs had captured civilians and the task of peacekeepers was to carry out an operation to rescue the citizens and evacuate them from dangerous areas, as well as to capture and destroy the insurgents.
The coherence of international peacekeeping forces helped to successfully complete the mission. In addition, the interoperability of soldiers, achieved in the course of this phase of the exercise, played a major role in the quality of the episode.
This year marked the third time the exercise was held. The second phase will take place June 15-26, when the current participants will be joined by military members from Kyrgyzstan, Turkey and Tajikistan.
The final part of phase one was attended by representatives of general staffs from the Kazakh, United States and United Kingdom armies. They praised the work of the commanders and operations units with whom they worked.
The annual Steppe Eagle exercise series is designed to prepare the Kazakhstan armed forces to join international peacekeeping exercises led by NATO or the United Nations (UN).
The first exercise was held in 2003 as a trilateral drill involving troops from Kazakhstan, the U.K. and the U.S. The number of participating countries has since doubled and includes several additional European and Central Asian states. KAZBRIG’s growing capabilities have resulted from years of hard work, as preparatory efforts have included the establishment of the Partnership for Peace Training Centre of the Military Institute of Land Forces (KAZTSENT) to train Kazakh military personnel to NATO standards and procedures. NATO certification would also confirm KAZBRIG’s ability to operate in a multinational peacekeeping environment under a UN mandate.