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Afghans, Pakistan, US begin military exercise

By Staff
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ISLAMABAD, May 2 (Reuters) Afghan, Pakistani and US troops began two days of joint military exercises today aimed at better coordinating the hunt for al Qaeda and Taliban militants, officials said.

It was the first time units from Afghanistan's newly-formed army had been invited to participate in the exercises, which were to include a mock air assault.

Pakistan hosted the exercises, dubbed ''Inspired Gambit 06'', at the Pakistani commandoes training ground at Cherat, 105 km west of Islamabad.

''The exercises have already started in Cherat,'' Tasnim Aslam, Pakistan's foreign office spokeswoman, said at a weekly news conference.

A Tripartite Commission meeting in Islamabad last month had decided to include the Afghan army units in the exercise for the first time to improve coordination and communication between the forces.

Reuters SI GC2142

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