Is Tashkent clearing the decks for the US?

A crew chief guides in a C-17A Globemaster III at Khashi-Karanabad air base in Uzbekistan on Dec. 16 2005. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Steven Pearsall)

By Dr Nicholas Redman, Senior Fellow for Geopolitical Risk and Economic Security

Uzbekistan has once again suspended its membership of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation, the alliance of former Soviet states that also includes Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Tashkent is saying it took this step because it wishes to develop relations with Afghanistan bilaterally, rather than as part of the CSTO bloc, and because it opposes efforts to deepen military cooperation within the CSTO.

Yet Uzbekistan’s fellow CSTO members suspect the decision has more to do with a wish by President Islam Karimov to reopen the Karshi-Khanabad air base to US forces.

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