Russia sought to bolster its security alliance with six other ex-Soviet nations Wednesday by forming a joint rapid reaction force in a continuing effort to curb US influence in energy-rich Central Asia. The summit of the Moscow-dominated Collective Security Treaty Organization came a day after Kyrgyzstan said it would end the US lease of an air base that supports military operations in Afghanistan. The eviction of US troops would mark a victory for Moscow in a battle for influence in what it considers its historic backyard. (AP)

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