Kazakhstan Ready to Back US Strikes in Afghanistan
Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev said Monday he was prepared to allow the United States to use his country's airspace to launch reprisal strikes at terrorist bases in Afghanistan.
Kazakhstan "is prepared to support action against terrorism by all available means," he told a press conference.
Asked by a reporter if the support would include bases and the use of Kazakhstan's airspace, Nazarbayev answered: "All that you have enumerated is included."
No request from Washington has yet been received, Nazarbayev said. "However if made, it will be looked at positively," he added.
Kazakhstan has already given its "general agreement" on taking part in the fight against terrorism, he noted.
On September 15, four days after the strikes on New York and Washington that left more than 6,000 people dead, Nazarbayev said after a visit to the US embassy that his country was "prepared to support US measures to fight terrorism."
Kazakhstan is by far the largest of the five former Soviet central Asian republics but has no common border with Afghanistan.
The country has long been deeply concerned about the threats of terrorism and extremism in central Asia.
Two other central Asian countries, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, which share a border with Kazakhstan, were last year subject to a series of attacks by Islamic extremists thought to have been trained in Afghanistan.
A senior official in Tashkent, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Saturday that Uzbekistan which borders on Afghanistan allowed US warplanes to land on its territory -- ASTANA (AFP)
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