Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov’s proposal to ban foreign military bases on its territory was approved by its lower house of parliament this week, while its senate is expected to pass the proposal in coming weeks . . . Karimov closed a United States air force base in Uzbekistan in 2005 after the US and European Union demanded an international independent investigation into a government massacre of protestors, although relations have since improved . . . the country also suspended its membership in the Moscow-based Collective Security Treaty Organization (ODKB) in June, a regional military alliance similar to NATO . . . the country’s decision to ban bases is a blow to the US, which had sought to reopen its base for operations into Afghanistan . . . the ban is likely an attempt to ease Russian fears and maintain its neutrality by balancing Washington and Moscow . . . however, Karimov probably will continue military cooperation with the US permit US special forces to continue their use of the country for counterterrorism operations in Afghanistan.