TASHKENT, Uzbekistan -- Uzbekistan's upper house of parliament yesterday backed the government's decision to evict US troops from their base in the Central Asian nation, dealing a blow to US interests in the region.
The unanimous vote by 93 Senate members present at the session reflects the souring of relations with the United States since Washington criticized a bloody government crackdown on unrest in eastern Uzbekistan.
President Islam Karimov's government said July 29 that the United States had six months to vacate the Karshi-Khanabad Air Base in the country's south, one of two set up in the former Soviet Central Asia to support operations in Afghanistan following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
Uzbekistan has denied ordering the US withdrawal because the United States criticized the May crackdown on unarmed demonstrators in the eastern city of Andijan. The United States joined international demands for an independent investigation into the violence, which Karimov's government has rejected.
''We know that fundamentalist moods arise wherever US bases appear. Enemies of the United States appear wherever there is a US military presence, and we don't want to be caught in between," Governor Nuritdin Zainiyev of the Kashkadarya region said before the vote.