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Tajikistan: Russia Discusses Central Asian Role In Afghanistan

Dushanbe, 19 September 2001 (RFE/RL) -- Russian Security Council Secretary Vladimir Rushailo said today that President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President George W. Bush are not negotiating a joint operation in Afghanistan. Rushailo arrived in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, today to meet with President Imomali Rakhmonov about the Central Asian country's role in potential military strikes on Afghanistan in retaliation for last week's terrorist attacks in the United States.

Russia has said it objects to the use of Central Asian former Soviet republics as a launching point for attacks on Afghanistan, where suspected terrorist Osama bin Laden is in exile. Tajikistan has said it is willing to cooperate with the United States and NATO.

Uzbekistan has also said it is open to discussing NATO's use of its bases and airspace, but it has not been requested to do so.

Turkmenistan reiterated today that it is neutral and has no plans to open up its territory.

Turkish Defense Minister Sabakhattin Cakmakoglu arrived in Almaty, Kazakhstan, last night for talks. Turkey has pledged to assist the United States in military action.