U.S. Said to Reach Deal on Kyrgyz Base
This is a big deal. The base in Manas, Kyrgyzstan is a major jumping-off point for US military personnel getting into Afghanistan. When the Kyrgyz government tried to shut the base down–some say because of pressure from Moscow–a logistical nightmare ensued.
For thousands of US soldiers, getting into Afghanistan–or going home on leave–became a much bigger hassle.
It’s also important because Manas is a key link in our supply lines. US commanders have long thought there was too heavy a reliance on dangerous roads from Pakistan to get supplies to soldiers. Keeping Manas open doesn’t solve the problem, but it does make things a bit easier:
A Kyrgyz official says the United States and Kyrgyzstan have reached a deal for use of the Kyrgyz airport to transport U.S. military supplies to Afghanistan.
The official says the deal was reached Monday to make the Manas airbase a ”center of transit shipments.” The Central Asian country’s parliament will discuss the agreement Tuesday.
The official asked not to be named since the announcement had not yet been made.
U.S. officials could not be immediately reached for comment.
Kyrgyzstan’s president stunned Washington in February when he announced that his country would be evicting U.S. forces from the Manas airbase.
The base has been an important transit point for U.S. personnel and supplies heading to Afghanistan.