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CSTO Members Discuss Afghan War

CSTO member states' presidents Serzh Sarkisian of Armenia, Alyaksandr Lukashenka of Belarus, and Nursultan Nazarbaev of Kazakhstan (left to right), leave after the informal summit in Astana on August 12.
Leaders of former Soviet states that are part of the Russia-led CSTO military alliance have met in Kazakhstan for talks, including on the possible effect of international forces' withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Speaking before the August 12 informal summit of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev said members would discuss how to mitigate the impact on Central Asia of U.S. military forces' planned pullout from Afghanistan.

The leaders of the CSTO member states -- which also include Armenia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan -- met for the talks in Kazakhstan's capital, Astana.

Uzbekistan's President Islam Karimov did not attend.

The bloc has been widely seen as Moscow-driven attempt to create a counterweight to NATO, but internal divisions have hampered the development of a full-fledged security alliance.

compiled from agency reports