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THE WORLD

Rumsfeld Courts War Support of 2 Ex-Soviet States

April 29, 2002|From Associated Press

ASTANA, Kazakhstan — Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld met Sunday with the rulers of two former Soviet republics to bolster support for the war in Afghanistan.

Rumsfeld met with President Saparmurad A. Niyazov in Turkmenistan and then with President Nursultan A. Nazarbayev in Kazakhstan.

Kazakhstan's defense minister, Col. Gen. Mukhtar Altynbayev, said his government planned to increase its involvement in Afghanistan and spoke of an agreement under which the U.S. and its allies could use a Kazakh airfield in an emergency.

"We are anxious to do everything we possibly can to see that Afghanistan does not go back to becoming a haven for terrorists or sanctuary for terrorists," Rumsfeld said.

He thanked Niyazov for the use of Turkmen airspace and for its role in supporting humanitarian aid to Afghanistan.

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