August 27, 2005

Uzbekistan to evict U.S. military tenants

Uzbeks step up pressure on U.S. to leave air base.

TASHKENT (Reuters) - Uzbekistan on Friday put further pressure on the United States to withdraw troops from an air base near the Afghan border with a parliamentary vote demanding that the American military go home.

The Central Asian state's government told the United States in July to remove personnel, troops and equipment from the Kharsi-Khanabad airbase within six months, following U.S. criticism of a bloody government crackdown in an eastern town.

Friday's unanimous vote by the Uzbek senate, parliament's upper house, comes a day before it and other former Soviet states hold a summit in Kazan, Russia.

"Wherever American bases crop up, so does a fundamentalist mood and so do enemies of America, and we don't want to be caught between the two," Nuriddin Zainiyev, the governor of Kashkadar Region where the base is located, told parliament. [Somebody needs a ball check. --ed.]

Washington won use of the base shortly after the September 11, 2001 attacks, using it as a hub for operations in Afghanistan and praising its authoritarian ex-Soviet host nation as an ally in the global war on terrorism.

U.S. criticism of the suppression of an uprising in the eastern town of Andizhan in May strained relations. Witnesses said troops killed 500 people, including women and children, as they put down a rebellion. Officials say 187 people, most of them "terrorists," died. ["Most" does not mean all. But hey, we'll take your word for it, I guess.--ed.]

Uzbekistan joined China, Russia and other Central Asian states in calling for U.S. troops to name a date when they would leave the region in July. Washington also operates an air base in Kyrgyzstan.

Not enough room in the backyard for everyone at the Central Asia BBQ.

Well, in the words of Eric Cartman...

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Screw you guys, [We're] going home!

Posted by Kyer at August 27, 2005 01:53 PM | TrackBack