Islam Karimov Denies Reports On Allowing U.S. Military Use Uzbek Territory In Anti-terrorism Operation

Uzbekistan's President Islam Karimov has dubbed media reports that Uzbekistan is giving access to its territory to U.S. and other Western countries' military an information attack" and branded them as falsified." In his statement released Saturday, he refuted the speculations that unit number 10 of the mountain division of the U.S. army had been allegedly stationed in Uzbekistan, and its major goal is to enter Agfhanistan. In Mr. Karimov's opinion, those who come up with such statements seek to complicate the relations among the states in the region, trying to set them against each other, and undermining their trust in each other. The Uzbek president stressed that his country's commitment is to avoid ground combat and air strikes at Afghanistan from the territory of Uzbekistan. He confirmed that Tashkent provides access to the country's air space for the U.S. Air Force, establishes information exchange among power ministries of the two countries, and allows U.S. transport planes and helicopters to land in one of its military airfields. The president said that Uzbekistan is creating adequate conditions for U.S. experts and technical support personnel that maintain the planes and helicopters. However, Uzbekistan is not giving the airfield for the Americans' full disposal, Mr. Karimov specified. "Our military aircraft will remain at the airfield. American aircraft will be used exclusively for humanitarian purposes; they will conduct search-and-rescue operations. The number of the aircraft is small, and among them are only transport and cargo planes and helicopters," the president concluded.

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