Washington confirmed on Tuesday it would leave an Uzbek airbase Tashkent asked it to quit after the United States criticized Uzbekistan's human rights record.The AP story added this:
Daniel Fried, U.S. assistant secretary of state in the bureau of European and Eurasian affairs, came to the Central Asian state amid a worsening of ties between the two countries that cooperated to overthrow Afghanistan's Taliban militia....
Witnesses say 500 protesters were killed by security forces in clashes in the eastern Uzbek town in May. The government puts the death toll at 187, mostly foreign-backed "terrorists."
"Our interests in security and our interests in democracy are indivisible," Fried said after meeting President Islam Karimov.
"The United States and Uzbekistan have had a very difficult period in relations complicated by grave concerns regarding the human rights situation and events in Andijan," Fried said.Ruthless realists (not to mention American "Jacksonians") might not be so pleased by this news. That air base had some military value, if only for its geographical proximity to Afghanistan -- and thus might be needed for future operations. The CIA apparently used it for "renditions."
I guess this Jeffersonian is pleased -- I've been complaining publicly about the US stance towards Uzbekistan since November 2003.
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