Uzbekhistan withdraws U.S. troops

The Uzbek Senate took a decision to withdraw the U.S. troops from the country.

Many lawmakers demanded financial compensation from the US government for alleged environmental damage caused by the US presence there.

The 93 Senate members present at the session voted unanimously for a resolution that backs the government's July 29 order giving the United States six months to vacate Karshi-Khanabad, an air base in the country's south that has been crucial for the U.S.-led anti-terror operations in neighboring Afghanistan.

The eviction order was approved after two hours of debate and the decision was announced by Sarrukhka Mukhuddinova, deputy Senate speaker. Senate approval marked the final step needed to make the eviction notice law, Forbes reports.

”The presence of the US airbase has become against our interests,'”said Muriddin Zayniddinov, a senator representing the constituency where Karshi Khanabad, site of the US airbase, is located.

”A man with two faces cannot be a friend of Uzbekistan,” Zayniddinov said in a speech before the assembly.

The head of Senate's foreign relations committee and the country's former foreign minister, Sadyk Safayev, said the withdrawal of U.S. troops was demanded by Kashkadarya's people because of alleged environmental damage caused by the base's activity, including increased health problems among people and water and air pollution, the AP says.

He also said U.S. troops must leave because the active stage of operations in Afghanistan was over.

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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