Fate of U.S. air base in Kyrgyzstan to be solved taking into account situation in Afghanistan

Kyrgyzstan Materials 29 November 2011 17:07 (UTC +04:00)

The decision on the withdrawal of the U.S. air base from Kyrgyzstan, which is lobbied by Kyrgyzstan's newly elected President Almazbek Atambayev, should be taken with the consideration of the inner situation in Afghanistan, said acting President of Kyrgyzstan Roza Otunbayeva, whose presidential term is expiring on Dec. 31, 2011, RIA News reported.

U.S. Air Force base was placed at the international airport Manas, as part of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan in 2001. Later it was renamed to the Transit Center (TC), which is a key point of technology and U.S. troops transfer to combat locations in Afghanistan.

"I want to state my personal opinion. I support Atambayev's decision on Manas, let it be a civilian airport on transit from Asia to Europe, but let us watch the dynamics of developments in Afghanistan," Otunbayeva said in her last press conference as a president of Kyrgyzstan.

Otunbayeva stressed that the situation in Afghanistan remains "very serious".

According to Otunbayeva, 2000 troops and a large amount of cargo pass weekly through Manas, which, in her opinion, is an important tool in stabilizing the situation in Afghanistan.

"The situation is instable in Afghanistan. What will we do after the U.S. leave the country?

There is only 1.5 hours of flight between us [Kyrgyzstan and Afghanistan]," Otunbayeva said.

"The instability in Afghanistan provides pressure to the situation in the Central Asian countries."

Kyrgyz Prime Minister Atambayev said earlier that he considers it necessary to withdraw the U.S. military base from the country. "The presence of U.S. bases isn't in the interests of Kyrgyzstan, and I don't want any country to inflict on Kyrgyzstan. However, all existing agreements will be strictly enforced."