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Tajik, Kyrgyz Defense Chiefs Discuss Security

Terrorism was reportedly high on the agenda at today's meeting between Tajik and Kyrgyz defense ministers.
KHUJAND, Tajikistan -- The Tajik and Kyrgyz defense ministers have met to discuss regional security, days after the Kyrgyz president expressed concern that terrorists could cross into Kyrgyzstan from Tajikistan, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.

Tajik Defense Minister Sherali Khayrullaev met behind closed doors today with his Kyrgyz counterpart, Abibilla Kudaiberdiev, in the northern Tajik city of Khujand.

The Tajik Defense Ministry said ahead of the meeting the ministers would discuss military cooperation and regional security.

Last week, Khayrullaev took part in a meeting of Tajik and Kyrgyz border guard chiefs in Isfara, another city that borders Kyrgyzstan.

Several days ago, during a visit to southern Kyrgyzstan, Kyrgyz President Roza Otunbaeva said she was concerned that terrorist groups might cross into the country from Tajik territory. Otunbaeva proposed creating special mounted units that would patrol the border.

Tajik authorities say there is no possibility that terrorists could cross into Kyrgyzstan. They say the situation in the eastern Rasht and northern Isfara districts -- sites of recent operations against Islamic militants -- is under control.

It is not the first time that Kyrgyz officials have spoken about the possibility of terrorists crossing into the country from Tajikistan.

A decade ago, militants launched attacks inside Kyrgyz territory and held control of several villages for several days. At the time, Kyrgyz authorities said the gunmen had evidently come to Kyrgyzstan from Afghanistan via Tajikistan.

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