3 thoughts on “Kyrgyzstan closes down US base

  1. Deposed leader likely to face trial

    Kyrgyzstan: The head of the interim government Roza Otunbayeva has said that the country’s deposed president must face trial, rescinding an earlier offer of security guarantees.

    Ms Otunbayeva’s statement reflected increasing impatience with ousted President Kurmanbek Bakiyev’s refusal to step down.

    Mr Bakiyev fled the capital Bishkek on Wednesday after a protest rally exploded into police gunfire and chaos that left at least 81 people dead.

    http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/index.php/news/content/view/full/89012

  2. No Troop Flights for now Through Manas

    April 14, 2010

    Associated Press

    TAMPA, Fla. — The U.S. military does not know when troop flights vital to the war in Afghanistan will resume through a key Central Asian air base after being suspended last week because of a political revolt in Kyrgyzstan, a U.S. Central Command spokesman said Tuesday.

    Maj. John Redfield, a spokesman for the Florida-based command center in charge of U.S. military operations in Afghanistan, said the troop transport flights were temporarily suspended last week at the air base, known as the Transit Center at Manas.

    “The troop transport flights are being diverted elsewhere in the Centcom region,” he said, adding that aerial refueling flights from the base for warplanes over Afghanistan continued.

    A senior military official in Washington said Tuesday the troops were diverted to Kuwait and from there are flowing into Afghanistan without significant delay. The decision was made because military planners did not want to risk a backup of troops at Manas if the base suddenly closed entirely. The equipment and refueling operations at the base could be set aside temporarily in that event, the official said, but troops pose a greater logistical challenge.

    Kyrgyzstan’s interim leader, Roza Otunbayeva, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that her government will extend the lease allowing the U.S. to use Manas after the current one-year deal expires in July. Deposed President Kurmanbek Bakiyev fled the capital Bishkek last week during an uprising that killed 83.

    The general in charge of supply lines to the war said this month that most U.S. soldiers bound for Afghanistan pass through Manas. Lt. Gen. William Webster, commander of the Third Army, didn’t provide specific numbers in an April 2 news briefing.

    Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Tuesday the U.S. has alternatives to the air base in Kyrgyzstan but that none of them are ideal. Gates said operations in Afghanistan have not been hampered by the turmoil in Kyrgyzstan and added that “everything that I’ve been able to see or read suggests that there’s a willingness to leave Manas open and allowing our use of it along the terms of our agreement.”

    Russia had pushed the now-deposed Kyrgyz government to evict the U.S. military from what Moscow considers its backyard. But after announcing last year that American forces would have to leave, Kyrgyzstan agreed to allow them to stay at Manas after the U.S. raised the annual rent to about $63 million from $17 million.

    Manas is a key support center for the U.S.-led international military campaign against the Taliban in Afghanistan. Some 1,100 troops are stationed there, including contingents from Spain and France, in support of NATO operations in Afghanistan.

    The air base, which also performs refueling and supply duties, saw some 50,000 troops move through in March alone, Redfield said.

    Gen. David Petraeus, who oversees the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, said in Kabul on Monday that more than 13,000 of the 30,000 additional troops headed for Afghanistan as part of the U.S. surge were on the ground. He said they were on track with deployments and would meet the commitment to have them all on ground by the end of August, with the exception of one divisional headquarters unit that is not required.

    Redfield told The Associated Press that flights were suspended last Wednesday when the civilian airport — which the U.S. base shares space with — was shut down by Kyrgyz officials for 12 hours. Some flights resumed briefly Friday during a “short period when things were back to normal,” Redfield said, but then were suspended again the same day.

    Also, a few hundred troops were flown back to the U.S. Monday after being stuck at Manas by the shutdown, Redfield said. Other than that, flights to and from Afghanistan remain indefinitely suspended.

    “When they will resume, I don’t know yet,” said Redfield. “It will continue to be re-evaluated constantly.”

    Redfield said that the temporary suspension of troop transport to Afghanistan from Manas means that the troops will travel through other bases.

    “We’ve got alternate means to get folks in there,” he said, without specifying those routes. “The military always keeps options. ”

    Headquartered at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida, Central Command is responsible for operations in a swath of the globe that reaches from Central Asia to the Horn of Africa.

    © Copyright 2010 Associated Press.

  3. Offical says US air base ‘must go’

    Kyrgyzstan: A top official in the interim government declared on Saturday that the US air base used to support the Western occupation of Afghanistan is “not justified” – days after the leader announced it could remain for the time being.

    Azymbek Beknazarov – a deputy head of the interim government that came to power last week following a bloody uprising – claimed that Washington had failed to challenge the former regime over its abuse of democratic rights in order to retain the strategic Manas transit centre.

    http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/index.php/news/content/view/full/89295

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s