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Uzbek Senate Approves US Military Withdrawal

26 August 2005

Uzbekistan's Senate has given final approval to a government order for the withdrawal of U.S. military forces from the country.

Lawmakers passed the measure Friday, saying the base has caused environmental damage and health problems for local residents.

The upper house of parliament also says it is time to close the Karshi-Khanabad air base because the active military phase of U.S. efforts in Afghanistan has ended. Some lawmakers say the U.S. military presence has become a security problem for Uzbekistan.

Last month, the Uzbek government announced plans to terminate the base agreement, but gave no reason for the decision to evict U.S. forces within months.

Washington has been critical of alleged human rights abuses in the central Asian nation, and joined with other countries in calling for an international probe into a deadly military crackdown on civilians May 13 in Andijan.

Some information for this report provided by AP and AFP.

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