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Offline Yrys

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US general in Central Asia visit - BBC News
« on: January 14, 2009, 16:05:12 »
US general in Central Asia visit

The top US military commander for the Middle East and Central Asia has denied reports
the US is planning to open a military base in Kazakhstan.

Speaking in the Kazakh capital, Astana, Gen David Petraeus also said the US had no plans
to withdraw its military presence from neighbouring Kyrgyzstan. The general is in
Kazakhstan for talks on the role of Central Asian states in supporting America's Afghan
operations. It is his first visit to the region since his appointment last year.

Afghan route

Gen Petraeus and Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev discussed the partnership
between their countries, and Kazakhstan's role in supporting US operations in Afghanistan.
Kazakhstan has recently signed an agreement allowing the transit of non-military US
supplies to Afghanistan. The US is currently seeking alternative supply routes for Nato
forces in Afghanistan. Most of its supplies go via Pakistan's volatile North-West Frontier
Province, but the rise in Taleban attacks in the region has forced the Pentagon to look
for safer routes.

This tour comes at a time when Gen Petraeus is preparing a major review of US strategy
in Afghanistan. The commander pointed out recently that peace and stability in Afghanistan
was incomplete without improving relations with the country's neighbours.

Three out of five Central Asian states share borders with Afghanistan, and the US has a
military base in neighbouring Kyrgyzstan.

Gen Petraeus said the recent speculation in the press that the Kyrgyz government would
demand the withdrawal of US forces from its territory was groundless.
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