Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrived Wednesday in Kyrgyzstan to join the leaders of Russia and China for a summit of a regional group seen as a platform for countering US interests in strategic, energy-rich Central Asia.
The United States, which maintains an air base in the host country, is keeping a close eye on Thursday's gathering of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which also includes four ex-Soviet republics in Central Asia.
The SCO emerged 11 years ago to address religious extremism and border security issues in Central Asia. China and Russia have been pushing for strengthening the group since the US military set up air bases in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to support the anti-terror campaign in nearby Afghanistan.
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