Archive for February 4, 2009

Kyrgyzstan to Close U.S. Base at Bishkek   Leave a comment

manas_closureKyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev has decided to close the U.S. Manas Airbase, which has served as a key staging location for U.S. military efforts in Afghanistan.

The U.S. has relied heavily on this outpost, which has provided an alternative to Pakistan, where convys face security risks.

The U.S. base in Kyrgyzstan was its only outpost in Central Asia.

Bakiyev made the decision after securing approximately US$2 billion in aid from Russia.

Adakhan Madumarov, secretary of the Kyrgyz Security Council, said ithe U.S. military would be given 180 days to close its operations and leave once the two sides had exchanged formal diplomatic notes.

Many in Kyrgyzstan have criticized the presence of U.S. troops.

Moscow, which operates its own airbase in Kyrgyzstan a few dozen kilometers away from Manas, has been irritated by Manas’s existence and has put pressure on Kyrgyzstan to close it, though on Wednesday said it would offer the U.S. support.