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Steppe Eagle Military Maneuvers Kick Off

Troops from 11 nations are taking part in the exercises.
Kazakhstan's Defense Ministry said the "Steppe Eagle 2012" international peacekeeping maneuvers started in the Ile Military Training complex in the southern Almaty region on September 6.

Troops from Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lithuania, Tajikistan, Ukraine, United States, and Switzerland are taking part in the drills that will last till September 21.

Local media in Kazakhstan reports that the exercises are held in accordance with the individual partnership action plan between NATO and Kazakhstan, as well as NATO's Partnership for Peace program.

The exercises are aimed at training Central Asian peacekeeping troops to maintain order and at checking their capability to perform tasks within multinational forces with joined command.

The Steppe Eagle drills with over 1,500 troops and observers participating each year have been held in Kazakhstan since 2003.

With reporting by ITAR-TASS