Kyrgyzstan gets rid of the U.S. air base
U.S. air base in the international airport "Manas" in Kyrgyzstan is a danger to the country, and therefore should be closed, said the president of the republic Almazbek Atambaev.
"Kyrgyzstan does not need a military air base in the civilian airport, it is very dangerous. We want the airport "Manas" to be only civil airport", the president said at his first press conference.
According to him, he warned the American side that at the end of the contract in 2014 the Pentagon's air base at the airport in the capital of Kyrgyzstan should be closed. "Either in 2014, the Americans withdraw from the "Manas", or they create civic logistic center even together with Russia and other countries", he said. However, Atambaev denied the claim that the decision was made under pressure from Russia.
U.S. air base, later renamed to the Pentagon's Transit Center, was established in the international airport "Manas" on December 2001 and provides approximately 30% of the total refueling in the air required for aircraft participating in operation "Enduring Freedom" in Afghanistan. This center also is a major transport and logistics hub for cargo transfer and coalition forces in Afghanistan. According to official data, in the transit center there are stationed about 1.5 thousand U.S. military and civilian personnel.
Earlier Atambaev stated that he considered it necessary to withdraw the U.S. military base in the republic. He explained his position by the fact that the presence of U.S. bases is beyond the interests of the republic, and said he did not want to see any country to strike back. However, he stated that all existing agreements will be strictly enforced.