Kyrgyzstan: Decision to Shut Key U.S. Base Is Final

Published February 06, 2009

| Associated Press

Kyrgyzstan will not reverse its decision to close a U.S. air base on its territory that is key to American and NATO operations in Afghanistan, a top Kyrgyz security official said Friday.

The statement by Kyrgyzstan's National Security Council chief Adakhan Madumarov appeared to dash any U.S. hopes of securing a last-minute reprieve for the Manas air base, which is located just outside the capital of Bishkek.

"The fate of the air base has been sealed; there is no doubt the bill to revoke the basing agreement will be ratified," Madumarov told a news conference.

Parliament is due to consider a government-sponsored bill to close the base next week.

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Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev stunned Washington when he announced the closure of the base earlier this week after securing more than $2 billion in financial aid and credit from Russia.

Losing Manas now would pose a serious challenge to President Barack Obama's plan to send up to 30,000 more U.S. forces to fight surging Taliban and Al Qaeda violence in Afghanistan.

That threat comes as increasing attacks on transportation depots and truck convoys in Pakistan have raised doubts about its ability to protect vital supply routes. About 75 percent of U.S. supplies to Afghanistan currently travel through Pakistan.

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http://www.foxnews.com/story/2009/02/06/kyrgyzstan-decision-to-shut-key-us-base-is-final