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Pentagon Defends Environmental Policy In Response To Uzbek Claims

Washington, 27 August 2005 (RFE/RL) -- A U.S. defense department spokesman yesterday defended the military's environmental policies following charges of abuse by several Uzbek senators.

The spokesman, Lieutenant Commander Joe Carpenter, told RFE/RL he could not immediately address Uzbek claims of environmental damage at a southern base but said the military has a strong record in that area.

"While I certainly can't discuss or even speculate on allegations about environmental irregularities in Uzbekistan, because we're just not aware of the specifics of those, I would say that across the board in the United States and where we operate overseas, the U.S. military goes to great lengths to conform to local environmental standards and we feel that we are good stewards of the environment," Carpenter said.

Carpenter said U.S. officials are reviewing alternatives for supporting operations in Afghanistan following the Uzbek government's call to vacate a key airbase. The Uzbek Senate approved that decision yesterday.

But Carpenter said without the use of the base, U.S. operations in Afghanistan may be more "difficult and costly."

See also:

"Is It Time To Withdraw U.S. Troops?"