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International anti-terrorism exercise starts in Kyrgyzstan

BISHKEK, July 17 (RIA Novosti) - A 10-day international anti-terrorism exercise will start Monday in Kyrgyzstan, the Defense Ministry said.

Regional Cooperation 2006 (RC06) involves South and Central Asian states. It is designed to strengthen relations and regional cooperation, improve interoperability and increase knowledge and understanding of regional forces operating in a multinational environment.

Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan and the United States will participate in a series of symposiums, seminars, coordination and crisis response exercises, and computer-assisted command post exercises. Russia and Turkmenistan have been invited as observers.

The Kyrgyz ministry said the main goal of the exercise is to practice dealing with natural disasters under pressure from terrorists.

The participants will set up national operational emergency-response centers whose work will be coordinated by a Regional Coordinating Center. Experts from the U.S., which recently agreed to increase the rent it pays for an airbase in Kyrgyzstan from $2.6 million to $150 mln a year, will help regional military and border guards to practice methodology of computer-simulated exercises and work with electronic maps.

(The Moscow Times 17.vii.06)

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