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Uzbekistan: Tashkent Restricts U.S. Use Of Airfields

Tashkent, 5 October 2001 (RFE/RL) -- Uzbek President Islam Karimov said today that his country will allow U.S. forces to use one airfield as part of a military campaign, but only for humanitarian or search-and-rescue operations. Karimov also said Uzbekistan opposes any military strikes in neighboring Afghanistan, and will not authorize U.S. special operations forces to deploy from the country.

Karimov spoke to reporters in Tashkent after meeting for an hour with U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Rumsfeld arrived today in Uzbekistan, the latest stop on a five-nation tour. Earlier this week he visited Saudi Arabia, Oman, and Egypt. He is to fly to Turkey later today.

A staff member traveling with Rumsfeld said today that about 1,000 elite U.S. soldiers (10th Mountain Division) are on their way to Uzbekistan.

For more on this story, see Uzbekistan: U.S. To Have Limited Use Of Air Bases