Friday, December 30, 2011

Serious Blow to another major supply corridor of NATO Kyrgyzstan want to Shut Down US Base

Kyrgyzstan’s new leader said Thursday it was “very dangerous” for his Central Asian nation to host a US military base.In a serious blow to NATO and US expansion in the region, the newly elected Kyrgyz President Atambayev has said that he will close  down the key US base in the country, the world renowned Manas Air Base, after its lea. The same intentions were given by the ex president Bakiyev, who then changed his mind but a major uprising in the country ousted him from power. This comes in the wake of another major supply corridor of NATO being blocked by the Pakistani authorities.
Soon after the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center, the Manas airbase was established in Kyrgyzstan in 2001, for the purpose of fulfilling the fuel, weapons and manpower needs of the US led coalition forces who attacked Afghanistan to hunt down Osama bin Laden and bring down the Taliban regime. Official reports suggest that approximately 15000 troops and 500 tons of military equipment and cargo pass through the base every month along with more than thousand military personnel stationed there. Hence, the base hold a strategic importance to the coalition forces, closing down of which can harm their long term strategic interests in the region.
Talking to the media, the president said, “When I was appointed prime minister last year, and again this year, I warned employees and leaders of the U.S. embassy and visiting representatives that, in 2014 and in line with our obligations, the United States should leave the base,”.The base over the past few years has attracted many controversies as whenever the Kyrgyz police tried to investigate the crimes committed by the Americans, they couldn’t prosecute them because of the international immunity the Americans had. Coupled with that is the inconvenience that is being faced by the local residents due to movement of military personnel and aircrafts on the base. A local resident talking to a news channel said: “I watch the US planes come and go several times a day. I know their schedule. The noise is disturbing, but I sort of got used to it. What’s really bad is that they are killing nature.”

Now officially called the Manas Transit Centre, the base is located at a civilian airport on the outskirts of the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek.Nato has mapped out a strategy to withdraw all its troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014, but the base remains a vital transit point of operations due to current tensions in US relations with Pakistan.

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