TASHKENT - The United States said on Thursday it had asked Uzbekistan to join the multinational coalition it leads against Islamic State, saying Central Asia's most populous state was free to choose a way of contributing to the fight against the militant group.
"We have asked Uzbekistan ... to join the coalition," Daniel Rosenblum, U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state for Central Asia, told reporters during a visit to the Uzbek capital.
Uzbekistan, a mainly Muslim nation with a population of 31 million, has been a strategic NATO partner in post-Soviet Central Asia, assisting a US-led war on the purist Taliban movement in neighboring Afghanistan.
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