The United States is negotiating with Uzbekistan and Tajikistan to sell nearly 50 military aircraft that were in Afghanistan, Politico reports.
The newspaper notes that the fate of these 46 aircraft “remains in limbo for more than a year.” The Taliban insist the planes belong to Afghanistan and are demanding their return.
The United States plans to evaluate the planes and make sure they are airworthy.
According to the newspaper’s source, the planes could be provided to Uzbekistan and Tajikistan in exchange for an informal agreement to “deepen security relations” in the framework of border protection and the fight against terrorism.
The newspaper explains, according to its sources, that US officials are working behind the scenes to use the air force as leverage to gain a foothold in the region.
The deal could also include increased intelligence sharing, as well as a “long-term” possible deployment of troops or aircraft in these countries as a regional foothold to monitor terrorist activity in Afghanistan.
At the same time, the newspaper explains: “At least in the short term, it is unlikely that any of these countries will allow the United States to use its territory for the deployment of forces, given their close relationship with Russia.”
In addition, any agreement to deploy US troops in Uzbekistan would require a change in that country’s legislation to prohibit it. There is already a Russian military base on the territory of Tajikistan.