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Afghan FM Cautions Against Drawdown In Central Asia

Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah (file photo) Washington, 17 October 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Afghan Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah today urged members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization not to weaken support for his country's stabilization efforts.

Abdullah told a news briefing at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty it is not time to consider reducing the international coalition forces battling extremists in Afghanistan.

"The war against terrorism in Afghanistan is an ongoing process. Despite all the achievements, it has not come to an end and friendly countries to Afghanistan should realize that it's a contribution to stability in the whole region. It's not just for Afghanistan."

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization issued a communique in July calling on Washington to wind down the U.S. military presence in Central Asia. It suggested there was declining need for combat operations against the Taliban. The organization groups Russia, China, and most Central Asian states.

Uzbekistan has called on U.S. forces to vacate a base in its country but Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan continue to permit coalition military operations on their territory.

(RFE/RL Washington bureau)

For more news on Afghanistan, see RFE/RL's special webpage: News and Features About Afghanistan