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NEWS | April 10, 2023

VNG begins 20th anniversary celebration of partnership with Tajikistan

By Mike Vrabel | Virginia National Guard Public Affairs

The Virginia National Guard began recognizing its 20th year of partnership with the Republic of Tajikistan March 27, 2023, as VNG senior leaders visited with the Tajikistan Ministry of Defense in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. 

During the visit, the VNG team, led by Brig. Gen. James W. Ring, the VNG Director of the Joint Staff, participated in bilateral talks on military to military engagements. The Ministry of Defense also hosted a 20th anniversary celebration, commemorating two decades of partnership supporting the State Partnership Program. 

"The Virginia National Guard has enjoyed great camaraderie with military forces of Tajikistan over the two decades of our partnership, and through various military exchanges have helped promote regional and global security and prosperity," said Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia. "We have dramatically increased the pace of our exchanges, and we look forward to further growing the partnership to help build the capability and capacity of the Tajikistan military force."

"The Virginia National Guard values the continued partnership with Tajikistan in support of our shared security cooperation objectives,” said Ring. “Each partnership exchange between the Virginia National Guard and the Tajikistan military forces supports our nation’s mutual interest in peace and regional stability.”

During the visit to Tajikistan, Tajik leaders expressed their gratitude for the partnership, according to Maj. Isaac Rivera, the State Partnership Program director. 

“Col. Husein Shokirzoda, Commander of Tajikistan Mobile Forces, was grateful for all the training that the Virginia National Guard has provide to his forces over the past years,” said Rivera. 

The VNG and Tajikistan began their formal partnership in July 2003. The relationship has benefitted from sharing subject matter expertise during over 200 military-to-military engagements that help counter terrorism, deter violent extremism, expand emergency response capabilities, develop professionalism among leaders and staffs and promote shared values in national sovereignty and security.

The two organizations have made vital contributions to regional stability and security across Central and South Asia, executing bi-lateral and multi-lateral engagements with international partners; enhancing multinational understanding and shared values of peace, national sovereignty and global security.

Most recently, a team of four Tajik officers traveled to Fort Barfoot where they conducted an Officer Professional Development hosted by the Fort Barfoot-based 183rd Regiment, Regional Training Institute, focused on weapons qualification. 

“It went great, we really liked it,” said Tajikistan Capt. Jaloliddin Qurbonzoda through a translator. “The instructors are great, we can tell they’re very experienced. We really liked shooting the weapons and clearing buildings, it was a lot of fun. Zeroing the weapons was very important and what we were looking for.” 

At the conclusion of the training, Ring presented certificates to the four Tajik officers and their translator, marking their successful completion of the program. 

“I want to thank each you individually for your service to your country,” said Ring. “We recognize that freedom does not come free. It is the direct result of citizens such as you who stand for the freedom of your people. We’re glad, as the Virginia National Guard, to be part of that for Tajikistan.”

Read more about the State Partnership Program and the VNG’s relationship with the Republic of Tajikistan at

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