Tajikistan President Emomali Rahmon said that the country won't consider the possibility of countries other than Russia setting up military bases there. From a Reuters report:
"Russia is the main strategic partner and our natural ally, and I hope that it will always be like this," Rakhmon said in the Tajik capital Dushanbe.
"On my desk, I have a folder containing offers from other states, promising wonders in return for opening their military bases and other facilities, but we are not even considering them," he said, without naming the countries.
Oh, to see that folder! One can only imagine what "wonders" are being promised.
Anyway, U.S. diplomatic cables from WIkileaks tell a different story, saying that Tajikistan government officials "have indicated they would be happy for the U.S. establish an air base in Tajikistan."
But Rahmon's statement is nonetheless notable at a time when India still appears to be holding out hope to use the Ayni airbase outside Dushanbe, and the rumbling about a possible U.S. base of some sort is getting louder. (And not just in Dushanbe, where such rumors are fairly constant, but even in Washington.) So is Rahmon serious this time?