US invites Uzbekistan to join anti-ISIS coalition

US urges Uzbekistan to join coalition to fight ISIS militant group in Syria, Iraq

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Coalition airstrikes targeting ISIS

The United States has invited Uzbekistan to join its coalition against the ISIS militant group in Iraq and Syria, the US deputy assistant secretary of state for Central Asia Daniel Rosenblum told reporters on Thursday.

Speaking from the Uzbek capital Tashkent, Rosenblum said "we have asked Uzbekistan ... to join the coalition."

Uzbekistan, a former Soviet state, had previously worked as a key ally for the US in during the war in Afghanistan against the Taliban.

The US military acquired temporary basing rights in Uzbekistan as well as a number of other Central Asian countries during Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, which lasted from October 2001 to December 2014.

Uzbekistan and the US signed an agreement to allow approximately 1,500 American military personnel to operate out of the Karshi Khanabad air base after then-US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld visited Tashkent on Oct. 5, 2001.

In exchange, the US agreed to target hideouts belonging to the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) in Afghanistan. In September 2014, the IMU pledged its allegiance to ISIS.

Earlier in August, 25-year-old Uzbek national Abdurasul Hasanovich Juraboev, who was a resident of Brooklyn, New York, plead guilty to charges of conspiring to provide material to support ISIS.

The US has been leading coalition air strikes against the ISIS militant group since 2014 after they overran the Iraqi city of Mosul and declared a self-proclaimed “caliphate” in the region, with their de facto capital in Raqqa, Syria.

TRTWorld and agencies