Kyrgyzstan's military has set out to create rapid deployment troops, Defense Minister Esen Topoyev announced in Bishkek Friday.
He said the move was necessary for Kyrgyzstan "given the threats of the day." As long as international coalition forces have not brought their counter-terrorist operation in Afghanistan to completion, he argued, there is always the danger that guerrilla groups escaping retaliation may try and cross into Central Asian countries, including Kyrgyzstan. The special forces now being created will be tasked with fighting off such incursions. They will deal with local outbreaks of extremism too.
Unlike the existing troops, Topoyev continued, the new force will be trained to operate in mountainous terrain. Furthermore, they will be issued with special equipment for mountaineering and even specially designed rations, where traditional biscuits and canned meat are to be replaced with dried apricots, raisins, nuts, pistachios and other highly calorific, while very lightweight foods.
The rapid deployment forces will be manned by hired personnel rather than conscripts. Their salary is projected to be upwards of 6,000 Kyrgyz soms ($150).
The average pay for officers and non-commissioned officers in the Kyrgyz armed forces never exceeds 2,000 soms.