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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 March 2008, 01:08 GMT
US troops returning to Uzbek base
US troops at Karshi-Khanabad Air Base, Uzbekistan - file photo from 27 April 2004
Uzbekistan ordered US forces out of the country in 2005
Uzbekistan is once again allowing the US to use a base in the south of the country for operations in Afghanistan.

US troops attached to Nato forces would be allowed to use Termez airbase if travelling on German planes, the US military told the BBC.

US troops were evicted from Uzbekistan in 2005 after the US condemned it for shooting protesters in Andijan city.

German forces were allowed to continue using the airbase at Termez, on the border with Afghanistan.

Uzbekistan has made no comment on the new arrangement, but a US military spokesman said US troops "can use the German air-bridge from Termez to Afghanistan on a case-by-case basis".

The spokesman said the US had no bases of its own, had not requested any bases from the Uzbek government and had no plans to do so.

Improved relations

US Admiral William Fallon visited the Uzbek capital, Tashkent, in January for talks with President Islam Karimov, in a sign of warming relations between the two countries.

Since President Karimov was re-elected last year, the EU and the US have seemed more willing to restore their relationship with Uzbekistan, says the BBC's Central Asia correspondent Natalia Antelava.

"Recently, given certain events, including the access of the European Union to discussion about human rights in Uzbekistan, relations between Nato members and Uzbekistan have improved," said Nato's envoy for the Caucasus and Central Asia, Robert Simmons, during a visit to Moscow.

US forces started using Karshi-Khanabad airbase in southern Uzbekistan in 2001 to run operations against the Taleban in Afghanistan.

They were evicted from the base after the US condemned the Uzbek authorities for a harsh police crackdown on protesters in the town of Andijan in May 2005.

SEE ALSO
Uzbek president wins third term
24 Dec 07 |  Special Reports
Uzbekistan 'a threat to region'
23 Aug 07 |  Asia-Pacific
Uzbeks allow Germany to keep base
11 Dec 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Last US plane leaves Uzbek base
21 Nov 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Country profile: Uzbekistan
24 Dec 07 |  Country profiles

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