Sources: US considers Uzbekistan as backup base

By: By ANNE GEARAN, AP Military Writer
By: By ANNE GEARAN, AP Military Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) - Military officials say the U.S. is considering resuming military cooperation with hardline Uzbekistan (ooz-BECK-uh-stan) to help get troops or supplies into Afghanistan.

That's a surprise because diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Uzbekistan are rocky at best. The Uzbeks expelled the U.S. from a base on its soil in 2005, and the two nations have traded accusations ever since.

But U.S. officials say the Central Asian nation has emerged as one potential alternative now that the future of a key U.S. air base in neighboring Kyrgyzstan (KEER-guh-stan) is uncertain. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the talks.

Military planners are looking at other options, including a semicircle of countries from Central Asia to the Persian Gulf.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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