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US receives eviction notice from Uzbekistan
The Taipei Times.
July 31, 2005

AGENCIES , WASHINGTON
Sunday, Jul 31, 2005,Page 5

Uzbekistan has formally evicted the US from a base that has served as a hub for its combat operations in Afghanistan, the Washington Post reported yesterday.

Citing unnamed Pentagon and State Department officials, the newspaper reported the notice of eviction from Karshi-Khanabad air base, known as K2, was delivered by a courier from the Uzbek foreign ministry to the US Embassy in Tashkent on Friday.

Uzbekistan will give the US 180 days to move aircraft, personnel and equipment, according to the report.

The Post said the US will face several logistical problems for its operations in Afghanistan, if the decision is acted upon.

K2 has been a landing base to transfer humanitarian goods that are then taken by road into northern Afghanistan, particularly to Mazar-i-Sharif -- with no alternative for a region difficult to reach in the winter, the report said.

It is also a refueling base with a runway long enough for large military aircraft, the paper said.

US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld visited Central Asia this past week, where he inspected US bases in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

The Post quotes Pentagon spokesman Lawrence Di Rita as saying the US military does not depend on one base in any part of the world.

"We'll be able to conduct our operations as we need to, regardless of how this turns out. It's a diplomatic issue at the moment," Di Rita said.

Asked about the report, Pentagon spokesman Glenn Flood said early yesterday, "We are aware of the diplomatic note to the US Embassy on the issue of K2 air field and we are working with the State Department, evaluating the note to see exactly what it means."

"The air field has been important to us and the US allies in operations over there," Flood said.

The eviction notice came four days before a senior State Department official was to arrive in Tashkent for talks with the government of President Islam Karimov, the Post reported.

The US has regarded its bases in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan as vital for operations in Afghanistan. However, the US presence in Central Asia has caused tensions with Russia and China, which joined the five ex-Soviet Central Asian states earlier this month to demand a US deadline for leaving the bases.

US relations with Uzbekistan also have been strained by the Uzbek government's bloody suppression in May of a rebellion in the eastern town of Andizhan, which drew US criticism.

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Commentary:
You know it's getting bad when known tyrants and thugs kick us out of their country. Recall, these are the guys who boil people alive.