U.S. military withdraw from Uzbek air base

The U.S. military on Monday flew its last plane out from an air base in Uzbekistan that had been an important hub for American military operations in Afghanistan, a U.S diplomat confirmed.

Uzbekistan's President Islam Karimov in July ordered the U.S. troops to leave the air base within six months.

Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Joe Carpenter in Washington said the withdrawal had been taking place gradually over the past several months.

"The last plane left the air base in Karshi-Khanabad" on Monday afternoon, U.S. military attache Gregory White said.

A small number of personnel remained, as the U.S. military wraps up its activity. "We are still performing some small operations on the base," U.S. Central Command spokesman Ens. Joe Vermette said.

The base has been an important staging point for U.S. military operations in neighboring Afghanistan since the earliest days of the war, which began in October 2001. More recently, the base has been used to move supplies, including humanitarian aid, into northern Afghanistan. It also is a refueling point for transport planes.

Uzbekistan became an important ally in the war on terrorism after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and granted permission for the United States to establish an air base in the country, the AP reports.


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