Brussels, Belgium Uzbekistan has told NATO allies they can no longer use its territory or airspace to support peacekeeping missions in neighboring Afghanistan - an apparent retaliatory move against a West critical of the former Soviet republic's human rights record, alliance officials said Wednesday.
Uzbekistan's shift away from once-warm relations with the West has been matched by closer ties with Russia, ever wary of Western influence in its former Soviet satellites. The two countries this month signed a far-reaching treaty opening the way for a Russian military deployment in the Central Asian nation.
The NATO officials said that alternatives would be found and the mission would not be hurt.
NATO diplomats said Uzbek authorities told European allies - including Germany and Spain - that they must withdraw troops and stop overflights by Jan. 1, although Appathurai said alliance headquarters had not received such a message directly.