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No Ground Troops Deployed Outside of US

The Pentagon says several Army ground combat units are poised for deployment abroad, but none have yet left the United States.

The Washington Post reported Wednesday that more than 1,000 troops of the Army's mobile 10 Mountain Division have been sent to the Central Asian republics of Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.

If true, it would mark the first deployment of regular troops in connection with an anti-terrorist operation that has already seen ships, planes, amphibious units and elite special operations teams mobilized.

But the Pentagon moved quickly to shoot down the Post report.

Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral Craig Quigley says several Army units are on a heightened state of pre-deployment alert. But he says none has yet deployed.

Uzbekistan and Tajikistan border Afghanistan, the focal point of the U.S. military buildup triggered by last month's bloody terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.

The prime suspect in the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon is Osama bin Laden, who is believed to be in hiding in Afghanistan, sheltered by the country's Taleban leaders.

U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has embarked on a four-nation trip to bolster support for anti-terrorist operations. In addition to Egypt, Oman and Saudi Arabia, he is traveling to Uzbekistan, which is reported to have authorized U.S. use of bases there for strikes against targets in Afghanistan.