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U.S., Central Asian States Start Military Drills

Kyrgyz officials say international military exercises involving troops from the United States and Central Asian states have started in Kyrgyzstan.

Troops from Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and the United States are taking part in the Regional Cooperation 2012 maneuvers, which are scheduled to run until June 29.

A Kyrgyz Defense Ministry statement said the drills are focusing on joint efforts to respond to natural disasters.

The exercises are taking place after Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member-states -- China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Tajikistan -- completed separate military exercises in Tajikistan last week.

Based on reporting by Interfax and Regnum