18 Jun 2013 09:00
The Azerbaijani army celebrates the 95th anniversary of the formation of the National Army of Azerbaijan in the Karabakh region of Agdam. The National Army of Azerbaijan was formed on June 26, 1918 and consists of the army, air force and air defense forces, and naval forces. The modern Azerbaijani army was established in 1993, during the Nagorno-Karabakh war, on the basis that urban militias were associated with local self-defense groups.
In 1998, the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan amounted to more than 72,000 people. The Army (55,600 men and officers) had 245 tanks, 335 armored combat vehicles, about 300 field artillery pieces, missile systems, mortars, and more than 60 air defense missile systems. Air Force and Air Defense Forces (10.4 million people) had 37 combat air-crafts, 15 combat helicopters, and 100 air defense missile systems. The navy (2.2 million people) had 39 combat ships and boats. In 2005, the Armed Forces of the Republic of Azerbaijan had 95 thousand personnel, including the Army, Air Defense, and the Navy. By 2010, the size of the armed forces reduced to 66,940 personnel.
Since September 1999, the Azerbaijani military has been exercising peacekeeping in Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq. The army's main international partners include Turkey, Ukraine, Pakistan, Israel, Slovenia, the United States, Germany, and the United Kingdom.
In 1988, a war started between Armenians and Azerbaijanis in the Caucasus region, which was fueled by inter-communal conflict that took place the preceding year. By December 1988, most Armenians and Azerbaijanis were involved in the conflict, as it transformed from a local problem in Nagorno-Karabakh to an "open inter-ethnic confrontation", according to AN Yamskov.
Between 1991-1994, the conflict led to large-scale military action for control of Nagorno-Karabakh and some surrounding territories. On May 5, 1994, a ceasefire agreement, the Bishkek Protocol, was signed between Armenia and the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, on one hand, and Azerbaijan, on the other hand.