Uzbek Senators vote for eviction of US troops

The Uzbek Senate will discuss the problem of the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the Khanabad military base, near Karshi, on August 26.

The issue will be discussed on the initiative of senators from the Kashkadarya Region of Uzbekistan, a representative of the press service of the Uzbek Senate told Itar-Tass on Thursday. According to their information, the repeated landings and takeoffs of heavy planes of the U.S. Air Force “have a serious negative impact on the natural environment, the ecological situation and public health in the region. Numerous problems emerged for the people, who live near the airfield, in their agricultural activities and everyday life.”

Participants in the meeting of Kengash (Council) of the Senate, held on August 19 and attended by Uzbek President Islam Karimov, said that the question on the status of the U.S. troops deployed at the Khanabad airfield had been raised by Uzbekistan before the U.S. leaders late in 2002.

Since active combat operations on the territory of Afghanistan were over, Uzbekistan suggested that the United States should decide whether or not U.S. troops should be further kept at the Khanabad airfield.

According to the senators, U.S. officials postponed the solution of the problem under various pretexts. Aside from it, they dragged out the talks on the compensation to Uzbekistan for the money spent during the use of the airfield by the U.S. troops.

The summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), held early in July, urged the countries, integrated in the anti-terrorist coalition in Afghanistan, to decide for how long they intended to use the infrastructure of the SCO member countries and to keep their military contingents on their territory, reports ITAR-TASS.

According to AP, the United States and other Western countries harshly criticized Uzbekistan for its use of force against unarmed civilians in Andijan on May 13 and called for an international investigation, which the government has rejected.

Uzbekistan issued the demand for the U.S. withdrawal last month just hours after hundreds of Uzbeks who had fled to Kyrgyzstan after the Andijan uprising were relocated to Romania, a staunch U.S. ally, by the United Nations refugee agency.

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