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Tashkent Denies Kazakh Troops Permission To Pass Through Its Territory

A Kazakh official says Uzbekistan has refused to allow Kazakh troops to pass its territory en route to Tajikistan to take part in the joint military maneuvers with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

Talking to journalists in the Tajik capital, Dushanbe, Kazakhstan's military attache Serik Zhumadilov said Kazakh troops had to make a detour via Kyrgyzstan to reach Tajikistan to take part in Peaceful Mission 2012 military exercises that started last week and ended on June 14.

Military units from China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Tajikistan took part in the exercises.

Uzbekistan refused to take part in the maneuvers even though it is an SCO member.

Meanwhile, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Dmitry Bulgakov said Thursday that the maneuvers have strengthened military cooperation between the SCO members.

Based on reporting by Interfax and ITAR-TASS