ILLISKY TRAINING CENTRE, Kazakhstan -- Central Asian states and the United States Monday (June 17) held an opening ceremony at the Illisky Training Centre in Kazakhstan to kick off the Steppe Eagle 19 exercise, US Central Command (CENTCOM) said in a statement.
The US Army-led exercise, set to last 12 days, "improves mutual understanding and interoperability among all participating nations, and helps promote regional stability in this vital area of the world", the statement said.
The annual drill also highlights the "steady improvements" of the Kazakh ground forces, said the statement.
In addition to the United States, the United Kingdom, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan sent participants to Steppe Eagle 19. Turkey and Uzbekistan sent observers.
The exercise seeks to refine "peacekeeping operations and Peace Support Operations tactics, techniques and procedures at the platoon to brigade levels, and serves to train" both US and Kazakh ground forces, according to the statement.
A closing ceremony is scheduled for June 27 at the Illisky Training Centre.