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Rumsfeld In Tajik Capital For Security, Cooperation Talks

U.S. Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld (file photo) (epa) July 10, 2006 -- U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld arrived in Dushanbe today for security talks with senior Tajik officials.

On his arrival, Rumsfeld commented on the growing insurgency in neighboring Afghanistan, saying it is "certainly higher than it was." Rumsfeld said insurgents in Afghanistan are at least partially funding attacks through the sale of narcotics, and that Taliban militants are providing security to Afghan drug traffickers.

Rumsfeld is scheduled to meet with Tajik President Imomali Rakhmonov and Defense Minister Sherali Khairulloev to discuss cooperation and regional security.

Tajikistan hosts a small contingent of troops from the U.S.-led coalition operating in Afghanistan, and has allowed the coalition use of its airspace for operations there.

Tajikistan shares borders with China and Afghanistan, in addition to Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.

Rumsfeld is due to stay in Tajikistan for one day, leaving on July 11. Unconfirmed reports have suggested that Rumsfeld will make a stop over in neighboring Afghanistan.