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Tajikistan Protests Uzbek Military Maneuvers Near Border

DUSHANBE -- The Tajik Defense Ministry has said it was not officially informed about Uzbek counterterrorism exercises near the Tajik border last week, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.

Uzbek Interior Ministry and other troops took part in maneuvers in the city of Bekabad near the border of Tajikistan's northern Sughd Province on April 8, RFE/RL's Uzbek Service reported.

Tajikistan's Committee for National Security refused to comment on the exercises, which involved battling a group of terrorists holding hostages inside Bekabad's Uzmetcombinat metal smelter.

Tajik political expert Abdughani Mahmadazimov says that since both countries are members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization they should inform each other about such military exercises.

Already tense relations between Tashkent and Dushanbe have worsened recently over water and energy disputes, though the two countries did sign an agreement last month that resolves nearly 90 percent of previously disputed territory.