Special Forces training with Kyrgyz troops

Special Forces  (Airborne)

7:04 a.m., February 20, 2003 

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan U.S. military trainers are extending exercises with Kyrgyz commandos for a month, the Kyrgyz Defense Ministry said Thursday. 

Eighty Kyrgyz soldiers from the elite Scorpion and Panther units will train with U.S. Green Berets through the end of March, the ministry said. The U.S. Special Forces troops, all with experience in Afghanistan, are teaching skills ranging from medical techniques to anti-terrorist operations to alpine combat. 

The U.S. military which has substantially bolstered its presence in Central Asia since the Sept. 11 attacks and operations in neighboring Afghanistan has performed such training for Kyrgyz troops each year since 2001. More exercises are planned later this year. 

Mountainous southern Kyrgyzstan has been the scene of a series of incursions in recent years linked to the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, a group that fought alongside the Taliban against the U.S.-backed northern alliance in Afghanistan. 

U.S. troops and other anti-terrorist coalition forces are based at the Manas airport near the capital Bishkek for air operations in Afghanistan. 

ASSOCIATED PRESS

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